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.