Football family squabble holding up Big East deal

The divorce between the Catholic 7 group of Big East schools and the football side of the family has been settled, but an internal problem about distribution of  the money remaining in the Big East reserve fund is holding up the announcement.

Welcome to the college version of the Hatfield and McCoys.

What should have been a perfunctory announcement that the Catholic 7–Seton Hall,  Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, Providence, St. John’s and DePaul–was leaving the conference on June 30th form its own basketball dominated conference has spilled over into a family football fight among the old Big East schools–Connecticut, Cincinnati, and South Florida–and the new group, who will be joining the league on a full-time basis on July 1.

The issue: the nearly $100 million of actual and projected money that the Big East has and will collect in terms of exit fees and NCAA basketball shares.  When the distribution percentages are settled, the payments will be made over 5-to 7 year period, according to a report in USA Today.

The argument: The new schools, headed by Memphis, SMU and Central Florida, objected to a distribution plan which would have given the old schools as much as 90 percent of that total. The new schools wanted a much more even distribution, arguing that the Big East conference which existed when they made the decision to join had change dramatically in the past several months. So much in fact, that they should be compensated on a more equitable basis.

The old schools said that that none of the schools–with the exception of Temple which joined as a member in football last July–had done anything to contribute to the money that was in the fund and did not deserve a greater  share than the $10 to 15 million which had been originally proposed.

The new schools countered with the argument that had they known about all of the defections and the drastic reduction of the television deal the Big East signed–a drop from a previous offer by ESPN of $151 million a year to slightly less than $30 million–they might not have agreed to join the league and that without their participation, Big East football  would not even exist.

The old schools said that none of the new schools were being courted by the major BCS leagues and the best offer they could have received was from the Mountain West, whose new contract is still LESS per year than the deal ESPN and the Big East agreed to last month.

The two sides talked Tuesday. They talked Wednesday. They talked Thursday and continue to talk, with the expectations that some compromise on the ratio of the payouts can be reached.

While this was going on the Catholic 7 schools were saying, this isn’t our fight. Sign the deal to let us leave and then take your fight to another room and settle it.

They were also saying this was exactly the reason why the divorce proceedings began. Too many football dominated issues.

A side issue was the potential new name of The America 12 Conference for  the football league–the Catholic 7 will take the “Big East” name as part of the deal–which was floated on Thursday was hardly a slam dunk to be accepted. Although the projections of a 12 team football league by 2015 remain, more than a few schools are nervous about putting a number total on a league which could shrink as easily as it could expand.

The issues will be resolved, hopefully in the next few days.  The question at what cost, both real and perceived.

Right now, the Big East doesn’t look good in any areas.

© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.

  26 comments for “Football family squabble holding up Big East deal

  1. a xxx c
    March 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    If the conference dissolved no one would get anything tart. And no the mac is nowhere near as good. Uconn certainly hurt as much as it helped. Cusa makes that much money and they dont have to pay exit and entrance fees. The new members are the majority and watched the 3 remaining schools participate in the liquidation and destruction of the league while they pleaded publicly like bitches to go to the acc.. The remaining 3 deserve nothing more.

    • BruceMcF
      March 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Actually Conference USA makes $16m media, and in, say, 2011, was a one and done, which maintained over six years means less than $2m in conference units, so could it $18, spread over 12 schools is $1.5m

      Two of the three incumbents in the Big TBA earned 8 units in 2011 ~ two for UC, six for UConn ~ but even four as an average going ahead would be $6m in conference units, and $23m in media revenue, so call it $29m spread over 12 schools is $2.4m … $2.5m since Navy would only get a 70% distribution.

      So its “the same money” to the tune of $1m more per year. More if the new entrants that are dragging down the Big TBA conference RPI were to lift their game in BBall and help the conference get more then 2-3 bids per year.

      I understand how fans of Conference USA schools would not know about the way that Conference Credits pile up if you have multiple bids and if some of your schools make deep runs … its a little out of the average Conference USA school’s experience.

    • fin
      March 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

      “…The new members are the majority and watched the 3 remaining schools participate in the liquidation and destruction of the league while they pleaded publicly like bitches to go to the acc…”

      I very much agree. WIthout the new schools, the BE collapses and no exit fees are owed and the tourney credits go with the departing schools. In simple terms, without the new schools, there is no pot of money.

      And all of the new schools had to pay exit fees.

      To screw over the new schools is crap.

  2. Joker
    March 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Bring on So. Mississippi, Louisiana Tech and the like, I’m sure they won’t mind an extra $5m + $1.6m a year.

  3. Mike
    March 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    DON`T Be THE Gulf Atlantic or You`ll End up Being the GAC!!!! Must Be Atlantic Gulf!!!!

  4. Mike
    March 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Atlantic Gulf Conference aka : The AGC

  5. RudyMass
    March 8, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I come on here and read some suggestions that are smart, logical and executable. It just more vividly points out that the scho Presidents and conference executives could give two shits about the product, students and fans. It is all about football money. Makes me ashamed to say I support college sports.

  6. Ken
    March 8, 2013 at 9:48 am

    What would really be pathetic is if the new schools had to sue their own conference to get their fir share. The argument of the old schools is ridiculous. What exactly did the old schools do to “contribute to the money that was in the fund” other than help screw up the conference so much that everyone (including themselves) were willing to pay more than the contracted exit fee to leave as early as they could?

    The exit fees from Pitt, Syracuse, and WVU should be split among the old schools. If Big East NCAA tournament credits are part of the fund, then those should be split among the old schools as well.

    Exit fees from Louisville, Rutgers, ND and the C7 as well as the money obtained from the sale of the Big East name should be split among both the old and new schools. That is the only fair way to divide the money.

    From this point on, any school that announces they are leaving the conference forfeits any remaining payments from this fund.

    • Joker
      March 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      What exactly did UConn do to help the Big East conference?? That’s your argument?

      As a UConn fan, I honestly don’t care if any of these schools go back to the USA or the conference dissolves. That’s how bad it is. It makes no difference to me if UConn is in America 12 or the MAC for football, as long as they land in the ACC in the next 5 years.

      And, furthermore, I was not in favor of them giving $10 million to the new schools. No way. Why? UConn has earned hundreds of millions in credits for this conference in the past through its conference tourney runs, and gotten very little of it back. They should demand every penny coming to them. Especially since they are not likely to see this money when they depart.

      The NCAA credit money alone averages $17 million a year. Well guess which school has had the most success in the NCAAs in that 6 year span?

      It’s preposterous that the new schools think they deserve this money. The money is more important than the conference. The conference can dissolve for all I care.

      Look at what the new schools are getting:

      1. $1.4m a year more on the TV contract
      2. $2m in BCS autobid payment next year.
      3. $20m in NCAA credits abandoned by the schools leaving this year (paid out by the NCAA for this years tourney).
      4. $1 million from the agreement

      $5m extra lump sum and $1.4m more year. If they think they can do better elsewhere, then fine. See ya.

    • BruceMcF
      March 9, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      There were no exit fees from the C7 ~ last time they contemplated leaving, they received a change in the by-laws where the C7 could all leave as a group without exit fees.

      And there was no cash paid over in the Big East name: that was an agreement by the C7 to accept a smaller share of the accumulated conference cash assets. Since we don’t know what their share would have been if the Big East name had stayed, without running that negotiation in a separate universe, we can’t take a difference to find the price of the name.

      The notion that Tulane and ECU in particular should get exit fees from the exit of the schools that opened up the spots in the conference that they lobbied hard for is absurd.

      For the others, surely $10m is a fair share for them of the Louisville and Rutgers. Plus of course the speculative value of UConn and/or UC and/or USF exit fees and undistributed funds, if they are really into living off of exit fees.

  7. UCF Fan
    March 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

    If the new schools, UCF, SMU, Memphis, are now considered full members, meaning if they chose to leave they owe a full exit fee, then they should get a full share of the $. Either they are members or they are not. Can’t charge them a full exit fee and give them a partial share of these funds. Can’t have it both ways.

    • BruceMcF
      March 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Why not? Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland get a smaller payout (Rutgers and Nebraska rising to a full share over their first six years in the conference, Maryland more backloaded) … because they did not take the risk on the Big Ten Network.

      The new Big TBA schools had nothing to do with the Big East that was raided, the incumbents are being generous in giving them any share of the revenue from exits decided before they joined . But OTOH they were a full part of the package when the media deal was finally organized, so of course they deserve an equal conference media revenue payout.

  8. Tiger Fang
    March 8, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Cincinatti, UConn and USF are ridiculously greedy. Obviously, they deserve the lion’s share of the exit fee money, but keeping 10 times as much as their new conference mates is shameful. The Big East name which they sold also belonged to new members. Furthermore, they seem to forget that the new members are as necessary for the new conference as the remaining 3.

    As for the conference name, I would call it the Eastern Athletic Conference (EAC). If a non-regional name is necessary, for some reason, go with National Athletic Conference (NAC).

    • BruceMcF
      March 9, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      So they deserve the lion’s share, but taking the lion’s share is shameful? Good thing I was wearing my mental seatbelt, or I would have got mental whiplash.

      An easy counter offer would be slice it into fourths ~ the three incumbents each get a share, the new schools split a share … and the incumbent’s share is paid out first. So if the new schools want to bet on the incumbents staying, they’d take the 25% later, if they want to bet on the incumbents jumping ship, they take the 10% now, and share the undistributed funds later.

  9. mikeinmanila
    March 8, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I understand the ‘America 12’ logic…would always come first in alpha order on website summaries of conference standings, etc…so hard to avoid (it’s all about visibility and promotion at this point).

    Regarding the football schools…give UConn, CIncy and USF their 30M each to keep them happy. Pay it out at 5M per year for 6 years to correspond with the TV deal…if they leave early, they forfeit any remaining payout, which goes to remaining schools. Seems fair and synchronized. If the conference holds together, everyone will be making a lot more money in 6 years; if not at least the remaining schools will be compensated should some leave during that period.

  10. a xxx c
    March 8, 2013 at 12:29 am

    C7 are full of it and should stay quiet. A 60/40 share is the only split the schools joining in july should accept.

  11. Derby
    March 8, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Incoming schools have a lot of leverage now. A more proportionate split is in order. Sure UConn, UC, and USF should get a majority of the $100m or so, but not the uber-high percentage being tossed around.

  12. mrgreg
    March 7, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    maybe UCONN can sue everybody in sight to get their $$$$$. LOL

  13. Go Coogs!
    March 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Burn it to the ground!

  14. Guy
    March 7, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Should have been called Eastern Sports Conference. ESC, just like on your computer keyboard, esc = escape!

    Every schools wants to escape from this garbage pile.

  15. jerry ball
    March 7, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Do people really get paid millions of dollars a year to come up with this garbage? America 12 Conference? That is beyond pathetic.

  16. jerry ball
    March 7, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Anything with “America” in it is a total joke. What are these people thinking? Why not something with Metro/Metropolitan? It describes the schools that will make up this conference well. “America 12” is no different than “Conference USA.” It is a joke and will make this conference even more of a laughingstock.

    • Guy
      March 7, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      Looks more like a professional wrestling organization. Aresco probably had the conference pay millions for that hot piece of trash.

      Mike Aresco, you’re a village idiot.

      When you give up your name like bonehead Areso has, you go for a name that will elevate you above the Gang of Five. America 12 ranks below more solid conference names like Mountain West Conference, Mid America Conference, hell even the Sun Belt and Conference USA are better.

      Please football schools, kill this crappy conference and put Mike Aresco on waivers.

  17. RudyMass
    March 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Chris Columbo called it. Dude knows how things work. Props.

  18. Guy
    March 7, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Freaking hilarious! America 12 Conference?

    Mike Aresco, you have “out kicked your own coverage”. You have lost all value this conference once had. Meatball looks like a genius compared to your inadequate management.

    America 12 makes Metro Conference look like Shakespeare created it. 2nd Tier in every way, the America 12.

  19. Destard
    March 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    It would be hilarious if the new football schools told the leftover to F off and then lleave the conference before playing a game.

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