College Basketball: Why Leaving the Big East Is the Best Decision for Catholic 7

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 16: Head coach John Thompson III of the Georgetown Hoyas encourages his team from the sidelines during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Belmont Bruins at Nationwide Arena on March 16, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

After months, even years, of remaining dormant in the conference realignment , the seven non-football members of the Big East have finally decided to take matters into their own hands. 

It has been reported all week by numerous sources that the seven non-football , Georgetown, St. John's. Villanova, Seton Hall, Providence, DePaul and Marquette, are looking to move away from the Big East and form their own league.

This measure was triggered by the most recent departures from the Big East, with Louisville becoming the latest school to defect to the ACC with Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame already doing so and Rutgers moving to the Big 10. 

In place of the defecting five schools, the Big East brought in Tulane as a member in all sports to join four other former Conference USA schools, Memphis, Houston, Central Florida and SMU as permanent members of the Big East. 

The move to bring in Tulane, who are not considered to be a powerhouse in any sport, not only watered down the level of competition in the conference but it was the move that triggered the meeting of the seven presidents from the non-football members on Sunday. 

With the competition levels in the conference weakened significantly over the past year, the non-football members had to do something and now it looks like they finally will. 

There is no doubt that this was the right move for these seven schools and they will have no problem surviving in whatever they call the new conference they break away to become. 

The most recognizable basketball brand out of the seven is Georgetown. 

The Hoyas have produced numerous NBA talents over the years including Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning and more recently, Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers. 

Villanova, St. John's and Marquette also have strong basketball pedigrees while Seton Hall, Providence and DePaul have had their flashes of brilliance over the years but have shown signs of improvement in recent times.

DePaul hired former Clemson coach Oliver Purnell in 2010 and have seen nothing but improvement since his hire. 

Providence and Seton Hall are also headed in the right direction under Ed Cooley and Kevin Willard respectively. 

The competitive balance will be there for the new conference, but more importantly the markets in which the teams play in will garner a solid television deal. 

Major markets like Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia will be involved in a potential television deal, a package that is attractive to any bidder. 

One concern for the seven schools is what other programs they can bring in to join their new conference. 

The most logical of solutions would be to raid the Atlantic 10 and bring in Xavier, Butler and St. Bonaventure. 

Another potential option with teams from the A-10 would be to incorporate two more Philadelphia area schools, St. Joseph's and La Salle, to further develop their historic rivalry with Villanova. 

One potential problem that the new proposed conference would face is that Butler and La Salle field football programs, the two schools would have to look elsewhere to find a conference affiliation in football if they join the 

This may make those two schools difficult to pull away from their current conference with the new unnamed conference fielding a basketball-only league. 

The new conference can not survive with just seven teams and bringing in schools from the newly expanded 16-team Atlantic 10 would be the best option. 

This new proposed conference is certainly in the infant stages of development but there is no doubt that it will change the college basketball and put the Big East on the brink of folding.