Big East's Catholic Schools Will Form New League Under Same Name in Fall

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2013

The Big East will remain next season, at least in name. The seven Catholic schools that decided to leave the conference will keep the title when they form their new league next fall, according to ESPN's Brett McMurphy:


UPDATE: Tuesday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald

Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press cites a source close to the situation in indicating that the Big East football schools will receive approximately $100 million of the $110 million deal that is making the split possible. Russo doesn't reveal his source since the deal has yet to be finalized.

Big East football schools will get almost all of a $110 million pot in a deal that will allow seven departing basketball schools to keep the name Big East and start playing in their own conference next season, a person familiar with the negotiations says.

---End of update---


UPDATE: Friday, March 1 at 4:55 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald

An all-encompassing report by College Basketball Talk's Raphielle Johnson indicates that the talk of the Big East split was premature. He documents a quote by acclaimed sportswriter Mark Blaudschun, who was on the scene as the conference's presidents met:

People went into the meeting in Atlanta on Friday morning with an attitude of maybe we can do this, maybe we won’t–at least right away. Let’s look at the dollar figures, which are in the millions of dollars range.

All of this will eventually be worked  out. The Catholic 7 will leave in July. They will take the Big East name.

But….it might cost them more than they thought. And the word amicable is rapidly fading from the use of descriptions regarding the talks.

The devil is in the details as they say, and there are lots of details that must be worked out on both sides.

Dan Wolken of USA TODAY then confirmed the assertion, citing Big East commissioner Mike Aresco's comments on Friday:

---End of Update--- 

As of now, the conference will include DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. Johns, Seton Hall and Villanova. According to an ESPN report filed by McMurphy, Andy Katz and Dana O'Neil, Xavier and Butler will also be added to the conference.

The "Catholic 7" schools will be able to move early thanks to a new deal set up by the Fox Sports Network. A new media deal will reportedly be worth about $3 million per school, according to ESPN's report. 

The departing schools will have to pay the original Big East for naming rights, though the exact amount is not currently known.

These teams followed the recent trend of teams leaving the group, including West Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Louisville and Notre Dame.

With the Catholic 7 schools leaving, the original conference will only have three remaining teams from this past year: Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida. Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis are all expected to join the conference next season, although it appears that they will have to decide on a new name.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino, whose team is set to join the ACC in 2014, is on the side of the departed teams in this issue. He told Eric Prisbell of USA Today the following:

I think without question, the Catholic 7 deserves the Big East name. They should have, in my estimation, broken away from the football schools three years ago. I think they waited way too long. They should have been fed up a long time ago.

There is a lot of tradition among the teams staying, and basketball fans, at least, should be excited about what the future holds for the new Big East.