Report: Seven Catholic schools to leave Big East

The future of the seven catholic Big East schools is expected to be decided within days, according to an ESPN report, and sources said it would be “an upset” if they remained in the league.

The New York Post reported Thursday morning that the seven schools — Marquette, Villanova, St. John’s, Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul and Georgetown — will indeed split from the Big East.

The ESPN report said that the presidents of the seven schools are scheduled to conduct a teleconference with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco on Thursday and are expected to issue a statement on their schools’ future in the next 24 to 48 hours.

UConn president Susan Herbst has contacted officials from the non-FBS Big East members, pleading with them to stay in the league, sources told ESPN.

It’s unknown whether the seven schools will attempt to dissolve the league altogether or simply branch off as a group. The league can be dissolved by a two-thirds majority vote, according to Big East bylaws. The seven catholic schools plus Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida are the only institutions that can vote on dissolution.

If the move happens, the three holdovers would be left with Memphis, Temple, Tulane, Southern Methodist, Central Florida and Houston.

SNY’s Adam Zagoria reported that the seven Big East catholic schools will target Xavier, Butler, Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton, Gonzaga and St. Mary’s for its new league.