File this one under “not totally unexpected news”. According to ESPN, the Atlantic 10 is reportedly in discussions to add seven Big East Schools. The seven schools are DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova, and they all have two things in common: they’re all Catholic institutions and they all lack an FBS football program. The Atlantic 10 is currently a 16-team conference, but with Temple (Big East) and Charlotte (Conference USA) leaving after this season, the move would expand the A-10 to “only” 21 teams.
Obviously, the almighty dollar is going to do most, if not all of the talking here. The seven schools met with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco over the weekend to discuss possibilities, but one of their top priorities is a lucrative TV deal (shocking). Well, good news: the A-10 kind of already has one. They locked up an eight-year deal back in October, encompassing ESPN, the CBS Sports Network, and the NBC Sports Network. The contract kicks in next season, so it would almost work out perfectly in terms of timing. So let’s take a look at the realignment-pocalypse as it relates to the Big East. Who will be left?
The Big East is slated to lose Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse (ACC), Rutgers (Big Ten), and West Virginia (Big 12). If the seven schools mentioned jump ship to the A-10, that leaves the Big East with three… THREE! members that they have currently: Connecticut (BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA), Cincinnati and South Florida. But not to worry! The Big East is adding Boise State, East Carolina, Navy (2015), and San Diego State, for football only. They’re also adding Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU, the aforementioned Temple, and Tulane in all sports. So by our count, that gives the Big East just NINE basketball schools (if the A-10 move happens). Talk about being on life support.
Meanwhile, how will the A-10 work with 21 teams?!?! According to ESPN:
There could be two 10-team divisions or a true 20-game conference schedule, with 10 home and 10 road games, by playing everyone once.
Yikes. There are also talks of the A-10 dropping five schools to bring them down to a 16-team league once again, with facilities, market size, and program quality being considered. If that’s the case, you’d have to think that Fordham, La Salle, St. Bonaventure, Duquesne, and George Washington would be the likely five candidates. Who knows what would even happen to those schools if and when they get dropped. Let’s hope Rhody isn’t in trouble in terms of making the cut, if there is one.
Of course, this is all speculation at this point. Keeping up with the realignment-pocalypse is as much work as a full time job, and it’s certainly equal parts fun and headache. We’ll keep our ear to the ground and pass along any relevant info as this all pans out.