The breakup of the Big East's football and basketball schools appears to be on the fast track. The major college football members will meet in Atlanta on Friday to discuss the departure of the seven basketball schools that are planning to leave the conference and create a new league.
According to media reports Thursday, the basketball schools plan to have their new conference up and running for the 2013-14 school year and will pay the football schools to keep the Big East name and play its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco told the AP in a phone interview no deal has been completed between the two groups but ''some of this stuff is clearly coming down to the wire.
Big East football is in the midst of a major makeover, with 2013 scheduled to be another season with lame duck members. Next year, Big East football will have holdovers Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida, Temple, Rutgers and Louisville, along with newcomers Central Florida, Memphis, Houston and SMU.
In 2014, Louisville and Rutgers are likely on the way out - the Cardinals to the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Scarlet Knights to the Big Ten - and Tulane and East Carolina will join. Navy is schedule to join the Big East for football in 2015, and the conference is looking to add another member - Tulsa is the front-runner - to get to an even 12.
The network last week matched an offer made by NBC for the TV rights to the conference. The deal will be for seven years and pay the league about $130 million, though that figure would come down if the seven Catholic schools are not in the league next season.
It had been presumed that the seven basketball schools would stay in the current Big East for another year, because time is getting tight to start a new conference. But with a TV deal reportedly waiting for them, it seems they're ready to ramp up the process.
The seven basketball schools reportedly have an offer from Fox to broadcast its games that could earn the schools about $3 million per year, depending on how many more members they bring on. Butler, Xavier and Creighton are being talked about as potential targets."
Can't wait for Louisville and Notre Dame to come aboard. Too bad the Irish are too chicken to come into Hockey East. The new makeover is some powerhouse football conference, I used to love the old Southwestern Conference with SMU and Houston.