Conference Realignment 7.0

Conference Realignment 7.0

LINKS (March 4)

ESPN: No schools have told A-10 that they’re leaving

“What I know is the normal withdrawal from their league is 27 months, but common sense tells you know that there would be acceleration,” A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said.

“Our philosophy with our exit fees is not so much to prevent teams from leaving. Institutions have the right to make those decisions. But anytime there is change, it’s tremendously expensive. All the branding, everything you see, has to be changed and thrown into the trash can. Notice is important because notice allows for the process of transition. Less than a year, it’s harder to adjust, so that’s when the exit fee is doubled.”

ROBBINS (New York Post): New Big East Conference heavenly for hoops fans

“The new Big East isn’t going to fade into the background. It’s going to thrive.”

BLAUDSCHUN (A Jersey Guy): Big pay day coming for Big East 3

NARDONE (Rant Sports): Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick now delusional

“This isn’t Notre Dame football either – it is their basketball program. That is a big difference in monetary draw. Swarbrick is clearly looking to make the most money for his school in the quickest amount of time, but this is downright delusional.”

LINKS (March 1)

FORTUNA (ESPN): Irish AD: Catholic 7 a “viable option”

“If the Catholic 7 is leaving and forming its own conference for next year, they could certainly call us to want to explore our options,” Swarbrick said Friday. “And if they were interested in accommodating us, it would certainly be a viable option. We have a lot of respect for those schools and know them well.”

TIMMERMAN (Post Dispatch): SLU’s conference future could soon come into focus

“SLU athletic director Chris May said there was nothing to report on his end. ‘We’ve had no official conversations with them,’ he said.”

RISHE (Forbes): Butler University Hoops: Bulldogging their Way into Big Time Bucks and Branding

“Though data is not available for the 2012-13 season, we can estimate how Butler has benefitted financially in basketball from their current conference affiliation with the Atlantic 10… The Atlantic 10 collectively generated $64.6 million in men’s basketball revenues, roughly $153 million in all revenues from men’s and women’s sports, and $241.3 million in total athletic revenues.  With 16 teams in its league that year, this implies roughly $4 million per NCAA member.”

KATZ (ESPN): 3-point shot: Realignment nuts and bolts

O’CONNOR (Richmond Times-Dispatch): Spiders not out of the Big East picture

WOODS (Indy Star): Big East would represent amazing climb

“Butler basketball coaches were already telling 2014 prospects that the Bulldogs might be in a new league when they become college freshmen.”

BLAUDSCHUN (A Jersey Guy): Big East divorce might still be messy

“The devil is in the details as they say, and there are lots of details that must be worked out on both sides.

The trouble with the Catholic 7 Presidents is typical of the attitude that most of the CEO’s of the major college athletic schools in this country carry with them.

They are CLUELESS  on how  to make this all work. Sure, it’s easy for the Catholic 7 Prez to agree to a deal which allows the St. John’s. Georgetown’s and Providence’s of the world to play in a different basketball conference next season.”

RALLO (South Bend Tribune): Where and when will the Irish land?

Notre Dame is leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports but football and hockey (which were never a part of the Big East). The plan was for the Irish to leave the Big East after the 2013-2014 season, with hopes of negotiating an earlier exit.

NEBRASKA RADIO NETWORK: Creighton keeps silent on possible conference move

Through a spokesman, the Rev. Timothy Lannon, Creighton’s president, said the university would have no comment on the reports. Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen told The Omaha World-Herald that he also could not comment.

PRISBELL (USA Today): Pitino: Catholic 7 ‘deserves’ Big East name

“I think without question, the Catholic 7 deserves the Big East name. 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.”



Information/reports that have been publicly confirmed by University officials.

The departure of the seven Catholic, non-football members of the Big East conference is imminent. On Dec. 15, 2012, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco and the conference presidents released a statement confirming that the basketball institutions had notified them of their intentions to withdraw.

Here is the full statement released by the non-football member school presidents:

“The basketball institutions have notified us that they plan to withdraw from the BIG EAST Conference.  The membership recognizes their contributions over the long, distinguished history of the BIG EAST.  The 13 members of the Conference are confident and united regarding our collective future.  We have a strong Conference with respected national universities, and are working together to forge the future.  We have a variety of options, and are looking forward with great partnership, collegiality and optimism.”

What we KNOW

Multiple reports are in circulation, but no official word yet from the parties involved.

The new league will start up in 2013-14. According to a Feb. 27 report from the Chicago Tribune, a separation agreement between the Catholic 7 and the football schools will be in place by the league’s men’s basketball tournament in two weeks. In his report, Brian Hamilton wrote that it may “require an overflow of optimism to believe” both (separation agreement and 2013 exit) would be possible.

The following is an excerpt from Hamilton’s story:

 “…the athletic directors at DePaul and Marquette are comfortable enough to think positive.

“I’m hoping in a couple of weeks we’ll have that (separation) piece done,” DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto told the Tribune. “And then once that piece gets done, the next step is to determine the (start) date, and that would be part of the negotiation of whether it’s 2014, or if it’s 2015 or if there’s a possibility if it could be 2013.”

Of the separation agreement, Ponsetto noted that was more her hope than any firm timetable provided her. But Marquette athletic director Larry Williams characterized her view as a little more than idle chatter.

“It’s fairly educated optimism,” Williams told the Tribune.”

Fox Sports Network has a deal in place for the TV rights. According to multiple reports (linked at the bottom), Fox will start a new cable network next fall and will pay anywhere from $3 million to $4 million per school.

Butler and Xavier are locks for the new conference. Almost every single story out there includes Butler and Xavier as the top targets for the new Big East. Both schools are cash cows, bringing along with them not only a rich basketball tradition, but also a pair of top 35 television markets (Cincinnati-34, Indianapolis-25).

The new conference, however large or small, will be known as the “Big East.” While there were quite a few more creative names being floated around (i.e. 12 Apostles), ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, Andy Katz and Dana O’Neil—citing unnamed sources—claim that the new conference will retain the “Big East” title, but it is unknown how much that will cost them. An earlier report pointed towards a potential legal battle over naming rights, but it appears the two sides have worked out an agreement (should become official on Friday).

What we THINK we know:


The league will start with nine teams then grow to 12. Following up on stories from ESPN & CBS Sports that the new Big East would start with 9 teams (+ Butler and Xavier),’s Pete Thamel wrote that the new Big East would eventually grow to 12 teams in the next few years with Creighton, Dayton and Saint Louis filling in the final 3 spots. However, if the league grows to just 10 teams next year, he believes that Creighton is the slight favorite for the 10th spot.

Speaking of Creighton…

Sienna is in the mix, apparently. Washington Post columnist (and apparent SLU/Jim Crews enthusiast) John Feinstein first threw Seinna’s name into the conference realignment ring. Said Sienna College Director of Athletics John D’Argenio, “It’s flattering to have the College mentioned among those schools. It speaks to the tradition of the program, the support of the fan base and the attractiveness of the Times Union Center. But nobody has reached out to us.”

What this all MEANS

-SLU is by no means a lock for the new conference. It appears that if/when the conference grows to 12 teams, Saint Louis will be among those included, but the idea of Creighton being picked ahead as team No. 10 is as disturbing as it is baffling. It does not make much sense (financially or logistically) to have a 10-team league that includes schools from Ohio and Indiana, but skips over a lucrative St. Louis television market to get to Omaha. An argument could be made that SLU’s fan support is average at best, but this season has shown when the team performs, the fans come out—in droves.

LINKS (Feb. 28)

GOODMAN (CBS Sports): Catholic 7 looking at nine schools, might stop there

“The Big East presidents and athletic directors — minus the contingent from the Catholic 7 –will meet Friday in Atlanta, sources confirmed to”

McMURPHY, KATZ, O’NEIL (ESPN): Sources-Butler, Xavier also joining

“Fox Sports Network is expected to announce the addition of the Catholic 7/Big East basketball league Tuesday in New York as part of the network’s news conference announcing the addition of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 channels.”

THAMEL (Sports Illustrated): Catholic Seven could begin play as early as next season

“That leaves the biggest looming question of how many teams will the Catholic Seven end up adding for its inaugural season. The chance exists that the league could start with nine teams if it begins next year, as the Atlantic 10 exit fees are $2 million per school.”

FOWLER (CBS Sports): Big East-Catholic 7 documents note $68.8 million in realignment funds (includes some intriguing numbers…definitely worth a read.)

“The documents also mention the league’s “Football Reserve Fund” and a “Conference Reserve Fund,” which will be distributed to the Catholic 7 pro rata based on the number of members in the group. Numbers for those funds weren’t listed.”

FEINSTEIN (Washington Post): Catholic 7 schools, including Georgetown, charting a new yet familiar path

“The conference leaders want six eastern and six western — really, midwestern — schools. The eastern division of the league will consist of Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence and either Richmond (also a non-Catholic school) or Siena — a late entry but a potentially appealing one because it’s a Catholic school that (more importantly) plays in a 15,500-seat arena in Albany, N.Y.”