The seven Catholic Big East schools will form their own league beginning next fall and will retain the Big East name, according to an ESPN Report Thursday.
Big East presidents and athletic directors will meet in Atlanta Friday to discuss the terms of the imminent split, multiple outlets reported. Mark Blaudschun of AJerseyGuy.com reported that the Big East will “sell” its name to the Catholic Seven. The cost of the league name is unknown.
Initially scheduled to leave in 2015, the Catholic Seven would agree to take “considerably less money” from a Big East reserve pool earned from exit fees and NCAA basketball tournament shares, Blaudschun said. In total, it’s a reported excess of $60 million. A nice chunk of that could go to UConn, one of the few remaining members of the conference formerly known as the Big East.
Several Big East coaches have supported the Catholic Seven retaining the Big East name.
“It almost seems fitting they should have the name,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It’s how they’ve carried the flag, those Catholic schools. It’s going to be a heck of a league. It’s a league we investigated a little bit…We ended up in the ACC and we’re excited about that challenge, whenever it happens and it looks like it might be a little longer. I think it would be fitting for them to have name with the history of those Catholic schools in the league.”
Louisville’s Rick Pitino shared similar thoughts.
“I think without question, the Catholic Seven deserves the Big East name,” Pitino said, according to CBSSports.com. “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…You have some of the great, great traditions in college basketball. They should have gotten together, made their strong basketball league, sell their own deal and they should be the Big East. They should be playing in Madison Square Garden.”
According to ESPN, the Catholic Seven will add Butler and Xavier for the 2013-14 season. Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reported that the new Big East may stop at nine teams (the Catholic Seven, Xavier and Butler).
“Nine teams would be ideal in the sense that each team would be able to play every team twice in the league,” a source told Goodman.
The impending exit of the seven Catholic schools could change Notre Dame’s plans. The Irish were set to join the ACC in 2014, but ESPN reported that it could join this summer. If unable to do so in 2013-14, Notre Dame would consider spending one season in the Catholic Seven league before moving to the ACC in 2014, a source told ESPN.