Hartford possible “old” Big East tournament site

The frame-work of an agreement which will allow the Catholic 7 group of schools to break away from the Big East by this July as well as take the ‘Big East” name has been reached, with an official announcement expected by Wednesday or Thursday, barring some last-minute snag.

But while that was going on, Big East officials were also looking at life without the Catholic 7 and are seriously considering choosing Hartford as the site of the first New/Old Big East post season conference basketball tournament, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

As has been previously reported by a Jerseyguy. com, the three Big East football schools who are part of the full  revenue sharing plan–Cincinnati, South Florida and Connecticut–will be the primary beneficiaries, with each school expected to be paid between 20 and 25 million dollars each from a cash reserve that sources say is in excess of 100 million dollars.

The Catholic 7 schools–DePaul, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Providence, Villanova, Marquette and Georgetown are still negotiating their share, which could be as much as $5 million per school, but is likey somewhere between $3 and 5 million.

The other Big East schools who will form the rest of the newly configured conference in football and basketball are also expected to split another $10 million.

Aside from the financial considerations involving both conferences, a prime topic of debate has been determining a landing-place for the post season basketball tournament.  New York’s Madison Square Garden has been the anchor for the Big East tournament since 1983. The Garden is expected to make an arrangement with the Catholic 7 league to play next year’s tournament in New York as well, once the break up is official.

Which leaves the old new Big East, call it the Big Metro Athletic Conference (BMAC),  looking for a place to play, with Hartford the likely first stop in what will be rotating series of sites for a conference which will have UConn, Temple, Cincinnati and Memphis as its basketball anchors.

Hartford would be a logical and prudent choice for a variety of reasons. In the infancy of the Big East before the Garden was chosen as a permanent anchor, the Big East moved its post season tournament from Providence to Syracuse to Hartford in 1982.

Moving to Hartford would virtually guarantee a sellout because of the UConn connection, plus it would be the conference’s way of giving an additional benefit to UConn, which has made it clear that it would not hesitate to jump off the Big East bandwagon should the Big  Ten, ACC or Big 12 offer invitations.

Like the early days of the Big East conference, the tournament would rotate on a yearly basis for the first few seasons, with Hartford, Memphis, Dallas, Philadelphia, and New York/New Jersey all regarded as potential sites.

All of these moves are contingent on getting the break up deal signed with the Catholic 7, which should be announced in the next few days.

© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.

  37 comments for “Hartford possible “old” Big East tournament site

  1. Barry Cousins
    March 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    If those stats about UConn’s ratings on SNY are accurate, The B1g will be grabbing the Huskies in the near future. No way Rutgers pulls those kind of numbers. It looks like the academic accelerations being pushed by UConn are to prepare them for an invite that may already have been quietly and conditionally extended.

  2. football
    March 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    AP wire says football schools left in old BE will split 100 -110 milllion depending on the article

  3. Football settlement
    March 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    just hit the AP wire Football school to split 100 – 110 million depending on the news article

  4. nickp
    March 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    bad for Hartford

  5. March 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

    would like to see the old BE play in NYC and rotate among the other areas that conference members are in…give a feeling of membership. One point, is the expectation that Notre Dame goes to ACC; stays in the Old BE, or goes to Catholic 7 for one year or longer?

    • homelesscub
      March 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      The Big East Tournament belong at MSG, nowhere else. It’s tradition, just like basketball in the Big East. It’s how we roll.

  6. BigA
    March 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I think Orlando, New Orleans, or Tampa in March makes the most sense (in that order). They are easy in / easy out and are used to hosting major events. Maybe Charlotte as a secondary option.

  7. Joker
    March 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Let’s question this idea that Barclay’s is married to the A10.

    Right now, MSG is still signed up with UConn’s conference. Are they going to stick with it? No, I’m sure they have an out with the current composition of the teams.

    Are Barclay’s lawyers stupid enough to sign on with the A10 no matter how it’s composed?

    The A10 is about to lose Temple, Xavier, Butler, and maybe Richmond, St. Louis, VCU or Dayton.

    Something tells me that Barclay’s can easily sign on with the BE.

    • Chris Columbo
      March 5, 2013 at 9:18 am

      Barclay’s would be delighted to get the business. They can lock it in for many years. These conference tournaments are a good deal for the arena, as the schools have to guarantee purchase of the tickets. Reality is U Conn fans will buy a large percentage of tickets anywhere in this region, via ticket resellers etc.

    • BruceMcF
      March 5, 2013 at 11:34 am

      But likely only Butler and X next year ~ since the buyout of the A-10 drops down from $2m to $1m with the extra notice. If they are going to take Creighton, it makes sense to take them as the 10th for next year, since the difference in payout to the MVC between leaving next year and the year after is only $150,000-$175,000 (the difference between the two is half a one-year’s MVC payout). If the A-10 just loses two, that might not make as clear a case for any get-out clause. So Barclay’s could well let them play next year and back out when the rest of the New Big East poaching kicks in.

      Which is another reason why the important thing is that any decision to play in Hartford is only for the one year ~ the “Big American” can start negotiating immediately for a better location or a good alternating pair starting the year after that.

      Why would UConn want to get Hartford nailed down for next year, when they are still one of three schools voting on the Football side? Because once Memphis, SMU, Houston, UCF, etc. are voting members, the “Big American” is unlikely to be going back to Hartford all that often.

  8. sad day for basketball
    March 5, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Mark – thanks for all the information – youve been right on many of the issue – keep it up – if we were to wait for ESPN to share the information – it would be weeks from now – thanks

    • realist
      March 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

      I agree this site has been great, however we don’t know how much he’s been right on, The MSM is merely echoing what he writes here, we haven’t gotten an official announcement from anyone yet.

  9. jerry ball
    March 5, 2013 at 1:33 am

    One other thing, I beg Aresco not to totally botch the naming of the conference with some crap similar to what Mike Slive did with “Conference USA.” No “Big American Conference” and certainly no “Conference America” (that is what anti-University of Memphis people in Memphis have been calling Conference USA for years). Don’t be afraid to use “Metro” again in some form or fashion, especially when just about every school is located in a large city.

  10. jerry ball
    March 5, 2013 at 1:30 am

    The men’s basketball tournament should be in Memphis. That city is centrally located, it would be held in an 18,400-seat NBA arena, Memphis has plenty of experience hosting conference tournaments and there is plenty to do in their downtown area. Why reward UConn, which is trying everything they can to bolt this conference as soon as they can?

  11. johnny
    March 5, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Why do you keep saying that the Big East (can we stop calling it that? how about the Conference of mismanaged Athletic Colleges or CMAC? OR the Southern and Metro Atlantic Conference…SMAC?) will bend over for UCONN? They have made it clear they will jump no matter if the conference tourney was played in Hartford or even Storrs. And do you think Hartford would sell out after UCONN would be on a down year…maybe not even get out of round 1 of conf tourny? If there is one college you should form this league around its…WELL..there isnt one. It sure as hell aint UCONN either.

    • Joker
      March 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

      Down year? UConn is a top 10-15 national team next year.

      Do you even watch college basketball?

  12. Ncrdbl1
    March 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    So according to the ranting of a delusional man who has been grasping at straws ever since it became apparent of the failure of the Big East. A school which is actively campaigning to leave the conference is the logical spot to host the conference tournament. Not no but hell no. I seriously doubt the CUSA6 would sit still for such a move. Especially it is the one sight that makes it difficult for the majority of the fans to attend. UCONN would most likely be the LEAST likely to host the tournament.

    • BruceMcF
      March 5, 2013 at 11:25 am

      Hence the suggestion of rotating tournament locations ~ getting a location nailed down for next year and having that issue off the table is one thing, putting it in Hartford permanently has much less appeal.

      But from the perspective of the Bearcats, a long term set-up alternating between Philly and NOLA sounds more appealing than Hartford in early March.

      • terran1
        March 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm

        it should keep alternating between hartford, philly, Cincinnati and memphis. Philly and memphis have great fan support, and play in NBA arenas. nola has a nba arena but, no fan support, unless lsu is in town, tulane averages like 170 people a game.

  13. David
    March 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Why hasn’t the B1G extended an invite to UConn? They would effectively mix up the ACC reach in the Northeast with their own.

    ACC: Boston College, Pittsburgh and Syracuse…

    B1G: Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers and UConn?

    Which is the better selection of schools….I’d say the B1G’s with UConn.

    • mitchs
      March 4, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Because they don’t want UCONN. UCONN would go in a minute if asked, but B1G clearly felt RU was a better Northeastern fit. It isn’t going to happen.

    • homelesscub
      March 5, 2013 at 9:09 am

      The inclusion of Rutgers in the Big 10 negates any good UConn would do. Rutgers is that bad. The Big 10 made a Big Mistake with that choice. UConn should have been in and RU should be headed back to the A10.

    • BruceMcF
      March 5, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Because surveys shows Rutgers has 15% support among college football fans in NYC, UConn 5%. With current Big Ten schools holding 10% altogether, they reckoned adding Rutgers took them from 10% to 25%, and combined with NJ itself and the fact that Rutgers is a first tier research university, was well worth it.

      UConn takes them from 25% to 30%, combined with central Connecticut, along UConn being a second tier research university, the Big Ten would look on UConn as diluting their conference payout AND undermining their academic status.

      • Joker
        March 5, 2013 at 11:32 am

        UConn is certainly ranked ahead in USNWR, and its making waves with its multi-billion build out right now. Rutgers is cutting last I heard. UConn is also much more than Central Connecticut and you know it. They have the state wrapped up. SNY’s UConn shows have not only topped all sports shows, but all network shows. UConn sports are the highest rated shows on cable in that market (about 1 million TV sets).

        Rutgers was added because of the TV sets in NJ which far outnumber those in Connecticut. Case closed.

      • Matt
        March 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm

        UConn is not a Tier 1 University pretty much assuring they wouldn’t receive an invite.

      • homelesscub
        March 5, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        I live in New Jersey, I wouldn’t waste my time watching Rutgers. I will watch Big 10 football, SEC or Big XII football. If RU is playing any of those teams though I would just change the channel and pick another game. RU just isn’t competitive. People tuning into their games are most likely fans of the opposing team, not fans of Rutgers, and are looking to see their team get an easy win.

        New Jersey is starved for a true Division 1A football team. We do not have one and it doesn’t look like we are getting one either. This was the main problem with Big East football, there just aren’t enough schools that play 1A football in the northeast so they had to take what was available and make due. The problem there was the product sucked and ultimately killed what was an excellent basketball conference. Real football schools laughed at the thought of joining the Big East and so, in addition to taking schools like RU which is actually in the northeast but never belonged in the Big East to begin with, they started taking schools that were east in relation to Hawaii but, like Rutgers sucked in both football and basketball (with the exception of Boise State which eventually ran for the hills anyway). It made the football product worse, if that was possible, and started to take away from basketball as well (honestly, was anyone really itching to see an RU-Tulane game in anything?). Thankfully though the football dregs have been left behind to become fodder for other conferences and the C7 will get back to the bread and butter of the Big East…BASKETBALL!

        I will still watch/follow/love college football (Go Cocks and Cowboys!) but will continue to bypass what New Jersey would like to have you believe is real college football because it isn’t even close.

    • SJGMoney
      March 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      TV markets. Why is that hard to understand? Rutgers is looked at for carrying the NY market, the #1 market. Maryland has the #8 market with Wash, DC area. UConn brings nothing to the table TV wise. Academics, past sports history etc is irrelevant to someone who is as forward thinking as Jim Delaney and the B1G. He wants the Atlanta market (#9) next and he’ll get it with GTech. He’d love to get the #6 market with Boston College but those pompous fools are too stupid. He’ll get it with UMass though, just wait. And everybody will laugh at that idea, yet Jim Delaney is playing chess while Aresco et al are playing Tic-tac-toe. What if I told you when the B1G added Nebraska that in a few years they would go after Rutgers? Would you have called 911 assuming I had a stroke? Or just drove me straight to the funny farm?

  14. Joker
    March 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Blah. I’m a Uconn fan and I think this is a bad idea. No one has Brooklyn right now, talk to them about putting it there. Permanently.

    • Chris
      March 4, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      A10 has a contract with Barclays in Brooklyn. DOnt know how long that will last when Dayton, Butler, Temple, X and Richmond/SLU are not playing. I like it alot if its available.

    • Mitch's
      March 4, 2013 at 11:35 pm

      A10 is in Brooklyn starting this year.

      • Joker
        March 5, 2013 at 8:53 am

        If the A10 gets raided, Barclay’s has an out.

    • SJGMoney
      March 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Finally an intelligent remark, Joker’s first!! The C7 want the stodgy old Garden so they can smoke cigars and pat themselves on the back and reminisce about putting 3 teams in the Final four? Great, go ahead and take it. We’ll go see Jay Z and Brooklyn as we create the new hot conference in town. Hartford, really Mark? Becasue 30 years ago we were there? STOP LIVING IN THE PAST!!! And to make UConn happy? Do you really think UConn will say “oh yeah, they gave us a home court for our conference tourney, now we will stop begging at every other conference’s door”? Sometimes I really think A Jersey Guy lost his friggin mind in the flood.

  15. John Bragg
    March 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Some really big questions:

    1. Does the UConn/UC/USF Conference have a name ready? If not, why not? This has been a real possibility since December. It’s 100% better if you announce the new name at the same time you announce the deal to sell the old name.

    2. Any progress on the TV contract? What is it now, 8 days, 1 full pres/AD meeting and no contract?

  16. realist
    March 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    again you’ve been an awesome source of info, if it pans out you’re the man, but the wording here is very confusing. The ‘New Big East’ is the Catholic 7 no? Isn’t UCONN in the old Big East? At first glance the article title is misleading. Anything mentioning Big East going forward is synonymous with the C7 in my mind, The league formerly known as the Big East might choose Hartford would be better, no?

  17. Chris Columbo
    March 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Hartford for the tournament has a lot of positives as pointed out. I would also submit Philadelphia, as there are a fair number of teams that will be traveling from a long way away. Their fans may find the city interesting and historic etc. Maybe the tournament moves around. It could be fun times in New Orleans.

  18. Bearcat_Bounce
    March 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    LOL. I am guessing the Big East Board (now can be called the C-USA Board) is in complete meltdown mode :coffee3:

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