Savage, SEC03 -
Yes, there has been discussion about a Big East split after 2010.
With schedules arranged years in advance, time may be running out for making it happen in 2011.
My understanding of the date of 2010 is that it is based on 2 factors.
Immediately after the ACC raid in 2003, the remaining 6 BE football schools (Syracuse, Pitt, WVa, Rutgers, UConn (who was just coming aboard for D-1A football), and BC (prior to them offering themselves up as ACC#12) got together and mulled over creating an all-sports conference with some like-minded schools (some of the candidtates were Cincy, Louisville, Marshall, Temple, Army, Navy.... this was all disclosed around 2005). Anyway, this plan got torpedoed by 2 seemingly insurmountable problems:
1) These 6 schools had future earmarked revenues of $45 million, based on prior appearances in the NCAA basketball tourney. If they seceeded from the Big East immediately, they would have to forfeit that money to the conference, because according to the by-laws, the tournament proceeds are paid by the NCAA to the conference, which then allocates them to the member schools. The prospect of having to leave this money behind immediately gave them pause....
2) [not sure about this]... there may have been issues with the basketball side (Georgetown, Villanova, Seton Hall, Providence, St. John & Notre Dame) remaining as a conference in good standing during a membership change-over. NCAA rules have something about 6 members remaining together for 5 years.... not sure how long Notre Dame had been part of the Big East, as of 2003 (so perhaps the basketball side had to wait some time for Notre Dame to be counted as the 6th member - it wasn't even clear what Notre Dame would do in the event of a split).
THEREFORE, the "Dave Gavitt plan" was adopted, where the league added schools to give themselves 8 football schools and 8 non-football schools, and set themselves up for a potential split. The schools were added effective 2005. The BE by-laws were amended to state that starting at that time, NCAA basketball proceeds would become the property of the member school and not the conference, starting with tourney dollars earned in 2005.
The NCAA pays out the basketball maney over 6 years, so the last of the "conference" NCAA basketball money (earned in 2004) is paid to the member schools in 2010.
If the conference splits in 2011, each fraction of the Big East consists of 8 schools that have been together for 5 years, satisfying any NCAA rules for continuity as an established conference.
Mike Tranghese stated around 2003, that if a split were to occur, he would resign, since he couldn't necessarily impartially represent both factions. He has announced that he will resign next year. Conincidence ? Maybe.... but he is in his mid-60s, and he just finished negotiating a TV-rights deal extension, so maybe he had gotten to a point where he felt "his work was done"....
East Carolina, Memphis, and Central Florida have all been acting like they know something is afoot, and have made various public and behind-the-scenes overtures to the Big East Football 8.... the Big East member schools seem to act as if a gag order is in place, which only adds to the speculation that something is up.
Temple temporarily joined the MAC conference for football only. They refuse to join the MAC in there other sports, and the deal only runs through 2010. This seems to reflect Temple keeping their options open.
As though the Big East may undergo a change, which will cascade through C-USA and A-10, and maybe the CAA, etc. SUNY-Stony Brook moved their FCS football program to the Big South conference, however this deal also runs through 2010....
It would seem that if a lot of shifting is to take place in some year (say 2011), you would need to start announcing this some time in advance (say 2008 or 2009), so as to begin implementing your revised conference schedule, effective (2011). I think the next deadline coming up for filing changes in conference affiliation with the NCAA is June 30, 2009.
So perhaps an announcement is in the offing this coming spring.
Or maybe this is all just a conspiracy theory, and the Big East is fine and dandy as is....