The Big East as we know it appears to be on death’s doorstep. Several sources are confirming that the seven schools we mentioned yesterday (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova) are set to leave the Big East completely. The schools have voted on the issue via conference call and are reportedly ironing out the final details, which includes retaining legal counsel and media consultants. This leaves Connecticut, Cincinnati, and South Florida as the only schools set to welcome the new additions to the conference next season. The Big East-plosion is underway.
Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see what the “Catholic Seven” (as they’ve been colloquially named) decide to do, but the scenario of these schools joining the A-10 seems less and less likely. According to SI:
The realignment gold rush will start again. One thing is certain, the seven breakaway Catholic schools will not join the Atlantic-10 as ESPN reported as a possibility earlier this week.
Instead, they will likely use their brands and leverage to poach the Atlantic-10.
Well that doesn’t sound good for Rhody. A likely scenario is that the Catholic Seven would try to snatch up five teams, to give them an even twelve, and form their own basketball-centric conference. If they’re looking to the Atlantic 10, the first and most obvious school that comes to mind is Xavier. They’re a perennial Sweet 16 team, they have a great facility, highly marketable, etc. Other names being tossed about are new A-10 members Butler and VCU, as well as Dayton, Creighton, and George Mason. Yikes. If they A-10 gets gutted for five, four, or even three of their schools, it could seriously knock the conference’s prowess down a peg. Not to mention their media marketability and their attraction to both recruits and the general public. While there is still a lot to be worked out in this development, the early returns indicate that this is not good news for the Rhody Rams, et al.
Meanwhile, what happens to the remaining members of the Big East? They could still hang together and add a few more schools (UMass for example – more A-10 poaching) to become a football/basketball hybrid conference. But many think the conference will not be able to survive, leaving several schools “homeless” – the most notable of those being UConn. And if you’re thinking of the Huskies, or even Cincinnati, Tulane, South Florida, or any of the bunch joining the A-10, keep dreaming. These schools have high emphasis on football, and certainly a jump from the Big East to the A-10 would be a huge step backwards for these high-profile institutions.
So essentially, the Big East as we know it will cease to exist. Bear in mind there’s still a lot of stuff to be worked out, in terms of legal issues, media deals – basically anything that involves the almighty dollar. If you try to come up with a logical solution to any of this, you’re going to end up with a headache. We just have to sit back and watch everything unfold… and hope for good news as it related to the Atlantic 10.