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Big East Basketball Schools to Split From Football Schools

Category: American Conference Expansion & Realignment, Big East Expansion & Realignment, Featured News, NCAA Conference Expansion & Realignment

The decision has been made to leave. Now it is just a matter of seeing how they can leave.

The group of non-football school comprised of Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette and Depaul are ending their association with the 13 member football schools, but the path will be a rocky one.

At stake are millions of dollars in NCAA tournament shares, with over $28 million for this year alone. There is also the matter of the exit fees to be collected from departing schools such as WVU, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville, Rutgers and Notre Dame. But it’s the Big East name that will be the biggest issue, as well as the MSG contract for the conference tournament.

This is a process that will likely be decided in the courts as there are too many issues at hand. You have 9 schools set to join, most of whom had to pay exit fees to join the Big East in the first place. They joined based on the assumption that the conference would exist…since the basketball schools voted in favor of bringing in the 6 all-sports members of Temple, Houston, SMU, Memphis, UCF, and Tulane. Since their previous conferences (5 from CUSA) have brought in replacements, there is no place for them to go should the Big East dissolve. While they will likely simply regroup and form a new all-sports conference with the same 14 members with at least the 10 for all-sports, the issue is more about collecting the damages each school feels they will incur.

The football programs, regardless of if they keep the name or not, will have ample options. The conference could exist as a 10 school all-sports conference covering major markets throughout the east. They also have the option to bring in SDSU, Boise St. and other western schools such as BYU, New Mexico and UNLV and create a 16 school conference for all-sports with 8 western members in a division (such as Houston, SMU, New Mexico, BYU, UNLV, Boise St., San Diego St., Nevada) with the remaining 8 Big East football members in an eastern division. With a home-and-home schedule within each division for non-football sports, travel would be limited.

On the basketball side, the 7 current non-football Big East members will likely look to target candidates from a pool of Catholic schools such as Xavier, Dayton, St. Louis, Butler and Creighton. Gonzaga is another strong possibility if paired with another western member such as St. Mary’s.


This is a story that will likely have new developments everyday.

To get a feel for how this came to be and a look at the economic impact, take a look at the most recent Big East Split article “History of the Big East Split Concept“.


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  • Valpo and Stetson are not in the same ballpark. That’s like comparing Eastern Michigan an Michigan St.

  • You can say the exact same thing to Creighton, Evansville, Saint Louis and Providence. Valpo and stetson could be better in the conference. If you get schools from coast to coast? You do need some travel partners and forget adding Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Saint Louis, and others.

  • Mesheke

    No, it’s the fact that one of the major cohesiveness of the 7 schools was that they are all catholic schools. It creates a history. As soon as you start adding other schools that are non-catholic it would take away from that. Just my 2 cents.

  • PNB

    VCU is also non-catholic

  • PNB

    why? you hate non catholics

  • I like it but would swap VCU for Richmond since they are a private school.

  • That WAS an option on the table in 2004 but conference opted for no divisions. Option was again presented in Sunday and rejected this week.

  • Candidate pool is already pretty set, won’t be many surprises:

    St. Louis


    Super Conference Option priority schools:
    St. Mary’s

    Longshot if a Super Conference:
    LMU for LA market

  • Agreed. Winning some games means very little. Market size and penetration, attendance, athletic budget…those are the things that matter. Look no further than the Big East and CUSA additions. Big East added Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Orlando markets. CUSA added. Miami, Nashville, Dallas, Norfolk markets.

  • Andy

    I don’t mean to come across too harsh, but I just don’t see at all where you’re coming from with any of this.

    * Valpo went to the Sweet 16 in 1998, but has lost in the first round all the other six times they’ve been there. Their last appearance was 2004.
    * Oral Roberts has only three NCAA appearances, the last in 08.
    * UALR has only one NCAA and one NIT appearance in the last 22 years.
    * Stetson hasn’t had a winning record since 2001 and has never been to the NCAA.

    Now you want to place these teams in what could be one of the best basketball conferences in the country? As I said before, these schools offer absolutely nothing to the Catholic 7. They have no business being in such a conference. There is a reason no major conference has been after them before.

    As far as travel goes, the teams mentioned would be split into two nice Midwest and East divisions that would make traveling easy most of the time. I used to work for a Missouri Valley Conference school and those distances would pretty much be the same as in either of these possible new division.

  • Valporaiso several years ago I think like 2002 or around that time went high into the final 8. They made the tournament several times at that time.
    I always heard a lot About Stetson which is a name brand in basketball. Have not done well lately.
    I am listing them who have done well. UALR would be better off not in SBC. Another hybrid conference there like Big East. The women’s team is good., plus it will bring the Little Rock market and I do not think there is a Catholic University in the state, but there are Catholic high schools which they could use UALR to help recruit some Catholic students.

    Adding Saint Louis and Creighton is not a good idea unless you add some schools in their regions to offset travel costs have partners.
    UALR/Saint Louis
    Creighton/Oral Roberts

    You know that it is bad idea to stretch a conference from coast to coast with out making it come out stable.

  • The Big East should split into two Div. in the BE. Conf..One for the football schools one for Catholic B-Ball schools.Obviously they would play seperate schedules and have a championship game in all sports except Football.Positively this would ease the lawsuits and conflicts regarding the Catholic B Ball schools departure, I believe scandals and probation at the UConn mens B Ball program(NCAA-Probation) contributed to the breakup as much as to the defections additions of football colleges.

  • Andy

    Everything I’ve read about the “Catholic 7,” as some are calling them,
    says they want to keep things as a Catholic conference. Butler might be
    the only one not Catholic they go after, but it’s still a private school in a great media market.

    Villanova will not let St.
    Joe’s in. Oral Roberts, Little Rock, Valpo, VCU and Stetson are not Catholic and offer very little, if anything, to this new league. This new conference is thinking big time and isn’t just looking to add warm bodies as the Big East has done. They want very strong, traditional basketball programs from good media markets. Xavier, Dayton, Butler, Saint Louis and Creighton each offer exactly that. It also allows the league to divide up into nice and easy-travel East and Midwest divisions.

    The “All-Vatican League,” as Al McGwire used to call it, has been a long time in coming and I think it will do very, very well.

  • Phil

    You’re kidding right, Valpo, Stetson, UALR, Oral Roberts, the catholic schools would be better off sticking with Tulane, SMU, and the others brought in by the Big East for all sports then adding those programs they add nothing. St. Joe’s maybe, but those others, really? I think they’ll add from the group Matt listed in the article, or maybe a few others not listed like a Richmond, George Mason, or VCU

  • Ben

    12 team basketball conference:

    St. Johns
    Seton Hall

  • Kro

    Valparaiso is in no way shape or form a name brand. I only recall them winning like one NCAA tournament game.

  • So, a 7-3 vote to add Tulane which caused the seven schools to break off. So the seven against Tulane and three for Tulane does not come up with 11 votes. Who did not vote, or was there a misprint that Temple does not have a full vote until July 2013?

    Now, I see some names off the list for some BB schools to join the BE schools.
    Valparaiso BB is in the name brand to add.
    St. Joseph’s and yes, it may be in a same market for another school, but they are a name brand school because of their BB preformances in the big dance like Valparaiso.
    Stetson is another onr.
    Maybe UALR as a travel partner for St. Louis.
    Oral Roberts is another one.

    now, if the Big East football schools can not use the Big East banner for next year? The schools will lose the bowl bid. Let them join WAC for 1 season to at least for a bowl tie in or 2, and then create the new conference for 2014 season. This could give WAC an extended year to find replacements and a chance for GCU to move up and any other D2 schools as well.

  • Kro

    Don’t like the idea of adding Butler. They’d be the only non-Catholic school.


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