Big East Prez will meet in Atlanta

The Big East Presidents and Athletic Directors will meet in Atlanta on Friday to discuss the timing and the details of the break up with the Catholic 7 group of schools who announced their departure from the conference in December.

Although no formal announcement is expected, the group, which includes all the schools still committed to the Big East, is expected to approve a plan which would sell the name “Big East’ to the Catholic 7, as well as allow the group–which includes Seton Hall. St. John’s, Georgetown, DePaul, Marquette. Providence and Villanova–to leave in July.

In exchange for leaving two years earlier than the scheduled departure date of July 2015, the Catholic 7, who will not attend the Atlanta meeting, would agree to take considerably less money from a reserve pool of conference money earned by the Big East from exit fees and NCAA basketball tournament shares which is reported to be in excess of 60 million dollars.

The financial details of this arrangement still must be worked out, but both sides appear ready to announce that the Catholic 7 group will leave in July and take the Big East name with them.

Once that is done, both conferences can move ahead with their future plans.

The football group of schools, which will include a surviving core group of Temple, UConn, Cincinnati, and South Florida, as well as Tulane (2014) East Carolina, (2014) Central  Florida, SMU, Houston, Memphis and Navy  (2015), will play with a 10 team league next season, which will include Rutgers and Louisville.

Both of those schools will leave the Big East for the Big Ten (Rutgers) and ACC (Louisville) in 2014.

Once the Big East name is sold, the football conference must find a new name and forge a new identity–perhaps the Big American Conference–as well as a new marketing strategy for a league which has been literally torn apart in the past 10 years of conference reconfiguration.

The basketball group will have an easier time of it in establishing an identity with the Big East name as well as a base of seven former Big East schools.

A move to expand to at least ten teams is expected quickly. Butler and  Xavier are the heavy favorites to receive two immediate invitations–with Saint Louis, Dayton, Richmond and Creighton also regarded as viable candidates.

According to several sources, the expansion will come in two segments. Ten teams–the  Catholic 7, plus Butler, Xavier and Creighton will compete in 2013, with two additional teams, Dayton and St. Louis will join in 2014, with Richmond on hold.

Such a move by the Catholic 7 will decimate the Atlantic 10. But the Catholic 7 group, with a start up bank roll expected to be in excess of 20 million dollars, is expected to loan any A10 schools wishing to leave in the next few months the extra $1 million of exit fees required for each school for an early departure.

An early consensus of starting the new league in July of 2014, rather than July of 2013, changed dramatically in the past few weeks as pressure from Fox Sports increased.

Fox has put a $40 million a year offer to the Catholic 7 group, based on a 10 or 12 team configuration, but Fox executives, who are starting a new cable sports venture next fall, wanted the Catholic 7 to begin play next winter.

Barring a last-minute snag in the plans, that appears likely to happen, with an announcement expected in the next few days. A tentative press Fox press conference for Tuesday has been scheduled.

The Big East football schools will hold their meeting on Friday in Atlanta and may also announce their plans.



© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.

  33 comments for “Big East Prez will meet in Atlanta

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  4. RudyMass
    March 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I am pretty confident the commenter “Finance” above is Aresco.

  5. Nick
    February 28, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    What do you mean by Richmond being “on hold?”

  6. Chris
    February 28, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    What do you mean, “Richmond on hold.” Still a possible entrant if Creighton doesn’t happen? Out altogether? A possibility if they go to 14?

  7. RudyMass
    February 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    This is really a stuff sell.

    • Chris Columbo
      February 28, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      I think teams like Temple would be better off in the A-10 playing football in the MAC. They keep all their rivalries, their other sports are better off and if they are truly committed to football, they can win in the MAC and qualify for the 6th bowl. They are stuck now as the cost to leave is too high. They may be better off voting to dissolve, take the money and run. C7 would take them if they got rid of D1 football.

      U Conn and Cincy will eventually find their way to a better platform, and will just have to make the best of this for now. This league will need to generate 4 solid football teams with 9 or more wins to gain momentum. The problem is they have far fewer financial resources than the other conferences. Over time the gap will widen. In the last few years they did well because Rutgers, Louisville and Cincy had solid coaches, who recruited well and were able to convince kids and their parents they had big time programs. At this juncture it is going to be harder to make that sale.

      • RudyMass
        February 28, 2013 at 11:00 pm

        Chris C, you are my brother with a different mother with those Temple thoughts. Have been saying for over a year that Temple was rushing itself in football. It won one, lousy Bowl game and Addazio/Bradshaw were actually using the “Boise of the East” phrase. Meanwhile, all Fran Dunphy does is quietly win and his hoops program was treated like a stepchild.

        • thebin
          March 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

          Ughhh….look how little say Boeheim had at Cuse….he was explictly against that move to the ACC and Cuse’s football is also dreadful.

  8. Guy
    February 28, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Aresco has made Meatball look like a genius.

    The former Big East was a waste of time, Mike Aresco has walked this conference back to a Div II level.

    Please Lord show UConn and Cincy a way out. Bball with the C7 will make MORE money for those two than playing football in a conference Aresco loaded with Tulane and ECU.

    Mike Aresco, you’re a FAILURE.

    • Greg
      February 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      Your attitude is a failure. You’ll be spending the next few years feeling miserable. The new Football playoff coupled with an impending change to the number of teams required for a playoff will end this realignment madness. Connecticut and Cincinnati are going to be here for awhile… and it’s not a bad place to be.

    • Big Shot Bob
      February 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Cincy always belonged in CUSA, and now that is where Uconn belongs. Don’t listen to me, listen to all the conference commishioners who have held their noses when looking at Uconn. They really should not have trusted the catholics, who really had no use for Uconn. First BC screwed over Uconn, then their friends in Providence joined in in blocking them out. Now sadly Uconn has no more friends.Calhoun picked a good time to leave,or a bad one if you are a Uconn dreamer.

    • homelesscub
      March 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      I feel bad for UConn, Cincy and even South Florida. Especially with UConn, it makes no sense that they are basically “still on the board” but the Big Ten took Rutgers.

  9. Philly guy
    February 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    ESPN is reporting it’s a done deal. Press conference for Cath 7 is scheduled for Tuesday. Really looks dreadful for remaing football schools. As a Uconn season ticket holder it’s hard to get excited over future schedules. Hopefully Uconn will be able to make a quick exit to a legitimate conference. Recruitment has got to suffer.

  10. February 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm

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  11. Chris Columbo
    February 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Sounds like a board meeting to review everything face to face. There is a lot of money at stake with tricky legal issues to navigate. This has a while to go before it is finalized. At this point I have to be believe these college Presidents want to get some closure.

  12. Chris
    February 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Richmond is more attractive because it is private, has a strong basketball history and academically is on par with the best academic schools in the new league. VCU has a nice program but just does not fit the profile of this league, plain and simple.

  13. RudyMass
    February 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    And so much for those in the Temple community who foolishly thought they were getting into the “Big East.” I guess all those aggressive Owl Club membership pleas will need to be re-branded to “C-USA 2.”

    Laser in, Bradshaw.

    Sorry to bother everyone else with my angst over Temple, but just really disappointed that Owls basketball (and all of the other Olympic sports) was kicked to the curb because TU administration didn’t have the foresight to see all of this disintegrating.

    Yes, at the end of the day, trips to Memphis, New Orleans and Dallas are better than Ypsilanti and DeKalb. But Temple football hardly was dominating the MAC and it built a leadership position in a very strong A-10 (minimum of five tournament teams this year).
    Now it is left with a second tier football AND basketball future with a bunch of leave-behinds.

  14. homelesscub
    February 28, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    What about MSG for the tourney? The Catholic 7 get that too, correct?

  15. GoingDome
    February 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm


    Do you know why Richmond is more attractive to the basketball schools than VCU?

    And is Gonzaga still being mentioned as a possibility? If travel is the concern have they explored adding the Zags as a basketball-only member?

  16. Chris
    February 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Looking forward to seeing my Spiders as the 10th team in this new league. Can’t wait!

  17. sad day for basketball
    February 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Well I guess it good this all finally happening – as a UCONN fan I will miss the basketball history and great games played in the Big East – and hope that the new football conference can grow into a competitive league – Still I will miss the many many great games this former league provided to all of its fans

  18. JesuitWarrior
    February 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I’d prefer the BEast name and its tarnish stay with the remnants, and start fresh with a new name.

  19. JesuitWarrior
    February 28, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Self-produced rumor: ND will spurn the ACC and join the God-ference. Perfect fit with the Irish’s zeal for football independence. They cannot like the prospect of 5 game ACC schedule, with the constant pressure from ACC to join fully. Even the sanctimonious ND leadsership knows you cannot be half-pregnant with the ACC.

  20. Hendry
    February 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Don’t these schools that give up the Big East name lose their NCAA Auto bids since they haven’t been together for a prescribed amount of time — thus they are essentially a newly-formed league that has to wait for auto bids?

    • Mark
      February 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      NCAA rule states that any conference which has six schools together for five consecutive years can qualify for bid. so big east basketball schools would qualify and keep an automatic bid. the big east football would probably have to petition for a bid, which I think would be granted, which would make 32 automatic bids

  21. Jeremy B
    February 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    This is absolutely the right path for all involved. The Big East name is still gold in basketball circles, but it is toxic in football. Let the basketball teams keep it and start a new identity in football.

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