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December 13, 2012

So it appears that the Big East may go out in one giant clusterf**k.

The presidents of the Big East’s seven Catholic, non-Football Bowl Subdivision schools are expected to decide on their future in the Big East in the coming days, and it “would be an upset” if they remained in the league, sources told ESPN.

The seven schools — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova — are “close to a consensus on what they want to do next,” a source said Wednesday.

Sources said Wednesday it’s becoming “more likely” the basketball schools will break away from the league’s football members.

It’s unknown whether they would attempt to dissolve the league or leave the league as a group. The league can be dissolved in a vote of the league members by a two-thirds majority, according to Big East bylaws. With all of the Big East’s recent defections, there are only 10 members (the seven non-FBS schools, plus Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida) that can vote on the league dissolving.

A source told ESPN on Wednesday that Temple, as a football-only member, has voting rights but can’t vote on dissolution of the league. With Temple unable to vote, that gives the seven basketball schools enough votes to dissolve the league.

Sources said there are multiple legal entanglements that make the voting situation “complex.”

And if they vote to dissolve the lawsuits that follow will be epic. Most likely including ones from Pitt and Syracuse over exit fees already paid and to be paid.

But surely there is a voice out there in the Big East that seeks to guide everyone back to unity?

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.


So how soon could this all go down?

One source familiar with the talks among the Catholic schools said that break up of the Big East could happen in the next few days.  “”We expect  the Big East to blow up tomorrow,” said the source.

Apparently they would re-form as 10-team conference. Presumably plucking Xavier, Butler and some other A-10 team (St. Louis?).

The sadly funny thing if this went down? Seeing the programs like Nova, St. John’s, Georgetown and Marquette turning on Seton Hall, DePaul and Providence over money. And that will happen. The top-four programs have all sunk real money into their programs and facilities. The other three have lived off the past and done little for the future. You don’t think that’s been noticed.

It’s going to be gloriously ugly.

If the BB schools leave who retains
ownership of the Big East brand?

Comment by JR 12.13.12 @ 8:19 am

I teach a business class and one of my first lessens is to develop the “exit strategy” at the inception of the business. No one wants to admit it, but relationships end.

I suspect JR’s question is the centerpiece of the legal entaglements as “brand” is classified as “goodwill” in the ethereal sense while the IP rights are more earthly. In short, who keeps the “Big East” name and who gets assigned what contracts, etc…
It will be a feeding frenzy for lawyers and accountants no doubt.
Thank God Pitt got out early. If its payments are scheduled, but not yet delivered, all it does is deposit its funds into escrow (either court appointed or acknowledged) and move on.
Whew, this was a close one.
One winner in all of this might be Duquesne.

Comment by sfpitt 12.13.12 @ 8:26 am

Once again, the Big East is late to the party. If they blow up the league, this too will lay at the feat of John Marinatto, a procrastinator super power. And Providence College, which wields (wielded?) a disproportionate share of power for the one school (well, maybe two, with DePaul) which brings almost nothing to the table.

A real commish — one that was both a leader and a visionary — would have seen that the Small Catholich Hoops-only League of Schools (“SCHOOLS”) was threatening to drag down the entire ship, and pressed for a divorce. Heck, even Bob Smizik saw that as the solution in a blog post a few years back!

But Marinatto had a conflict of interest, because one of the teams he’d hafta set adrift with SCHOOLS was his Beloved Providence. Secondly, he had a conflict of intelligence because (again, there’s a Providence thread) he simply didn’t see that football was king, while hoops (altho fun) simply pales in comparison revenue-wise.

If the Big East had a football guy (or at least NOT a hoops-only guy…), they might have forseen the toxic impact of the SCHOOLS voting against football growth, or voting that elevating ‘Nova was the solution, etc and taken action.

And had that happened, the Big East might still have all the defectors plus TCU & Temple, plus the incoming Texas & Florida schools, they’d be thriving — maybe as good or better than the ACC even WITH the defectors. Looks like maybe now we’ll never know.

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 12.13.12 @ 8:29 am

I still say that the ACC should try and grab G-Town as a basketball only member and Navy as a football only member.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.13.12 @ 9:02 am

The basketball schools would be wise to break off. Sounds like a pretty damn good league.

Comment by notrocketscience 12.13.12 @ 9:03 am

Tossing, I thought it was a great idea when you first stated it and still do.
Totally makes sense to me, especially since it is about TV share and money.

Comment by frankarms 12.13.12 @ 9:11 am

I feel sorry for East Carolina, Tulane, etc. Got the invitation but the party seems to have been cancelled???

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.13.12 @ 9:15 am

Don’t feel bad Dr. Tom…

It was a party that they were probably better off not coming to.

Comment by Benzene 12.13.12 @ 9:46 am

Happy to be watching this from the outside. Pitt dodged a bullet here.

Comment by Dinosaur 71 12.13.12 @ 9:52 am

Can’t help to feel bad especially for UConn. I think they made the move to Div I football a little too late. I really hope that they land in one of the “Big 5” at some point.

Comment by Floyd 12.13.12 @ 10:09 am

But if the 12 football schools stick togther
they dont need the BB schools there tv contract will be larger than any the bb schools will get.

plus they will have some really good BB them selves memphis u conn cinci houston temple sdus.

it will be just more money for the 12 football schools football pays the bills.

i dont think the tv people care what the name of the conmference is they just want the games
call it the american conference who cares
if they stick togther they win.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.13.12 @ 10:22 am

Hope this leads to Madison Square Garden breaking up with the Big East. I think we all want the ACC championship games played in NYC. Great concert last night, especially for us old guys who grew up with Paul McCartney, Stones, Who, etc.

Comment by rayhpgh 12.13.12 @ 10:41 am

big east is dinner ,depending on md exit fee suit, the acc will be desert, we may play only one season with current members, followed by fbs antitrust suit,thus poss bcs end

Comment by paul shannon 12.13.12 @ 11:03 am

Be grateful. Pitt could easily be in UCONN’s position if BC didn’t block them.

Comment by Chris 12.13.12 @ 11:11 am

If and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas. The basketball vs football schools in the Big East has been a problem for a long time. Actually the football schools, Pitt, Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinatti, and UConn played a stronger brand of basketball than the Basketball schools.

Comment by Justinian 12.13.12 @ 11:51 am

Ya Justinian, isn’t that odd. Through WVU in there as well.

Pretty much the last 10 years or so, the football schools, also had the 5 or 6 best basketball programs too.

Comment by Dan 12.13.12 @ 12:00 pm

Does anyone know how Providence was included in the formation of the original Big East? I can’t for the life of me figure that out. They were decent in t ’60’s, but other than that have been a drain on the league.

Comment by Crackbaldo 12.13.12 @ 12:22 pm

Providence was one of the founding members along with St. John’s, Georgetown and Syracuse.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.13.12 @ 12:31 pm

Dave Gavit, Providence AD at the time, is usually credited with being the driving force behind the formation of the Big East as a basketball only conference in 1979.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.13.12 @ 12:36 pm

The Big East formed as a basketball league, that later added football. I would expect the BB teams to retain the name, which is likely better for the FB teams anyway. Start a new league, and give it a name that can mean any direction and any number of teams, because the switchero is not over until the Big 5 sing.

Comment by Caw Miller 12.13.12 @ 12:38 pm

CAW MILLER you are right i posted the same thing if the football schools stick togther they dont need the BB schools
plus if the 7 bb schools go there own way 7 schools wont get a big tv contract and they cant be sure any outher bb schools will join them.

they will cut there own head as has been pointed out 4 of the 7 have not been wining programs in years so who wants to watch them on
tv they are liveing in the past they need to wake up they have nothing to sell with out u conn and memphis and temple they are better with them then with out them.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.13.12 @ 1:04 pm

we should have never left the eastern eight

Comment by paul shannon 12.13.12 @ 2:03 pm

If the BB-only schools were jettisoned two years ago the Footballers would have poached the Big 12 schools when they were panicking and needed a home.

Sorry BE, you snooze you lose.

Comment by Chuck Morris 12.13.12 @ 2:08 pm

The so-called “Catholic” basketball-only colleges have long been the problem with the Big East…and I say that as an observant Catholic. The football side of the conference was never allowed to run things and it all ended up being a giant clusterbomb. The remaining basketball only schools deserve what they get.

Conference USA should have received the BCS bid a few years after UM, VT & BC left. Instead the Big East got Louisville and Cincinnati, who carried the conference (with WVU) on the football side. When the BE explodes, CUSA should get the BCS slot.

Pitt will soon be out of this mess forever…what a blessing.

Comment by Penguins Fan 12.13.12 @ 5:15 pm

Biggest winner might be UC, UCONN, and USF. They now are free to go elsewhere without an exit fee. Reality is that they did the math and realized that leaving the BE for 10m to join a “lesser payout” conference even for stability sake was financially not a good decision. That argument is now gone.

Comment by PITT fan in Atlanta 12.13.12 @ 5:20 pm

Can Pitt win the ACC championship in basketball next year?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.13.12 @ 5:29 pm

SI talks about NCAA Tourney payout “units” which determines how much prize money is paid out over a 6 year period. Why didn’t Pitt take their units with them to the ACC?? And if the BE dissolves, can Pitt reclaim these units??

Comment by Mtoolmn 12.14.12 @ 5:30 am

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