Big East breakup: Who's leaving next?
The Big East breakup is picking up speed: A coalition of seven Catholic schools announced Thursday that their new conference will be up and running for the 2013-2014 school year.
Jessica Hill / AP
The breakup of theÂ BigÂ East'sÂ football and basketball schools appears to be on the fast track.
The major college football members will meet in Atlanta on Friday to discuss the departure of the seven basketball schools that are planning to leave the conference and create a new league.
According to media reports Thursday, the basketball schools plan to have their new conference up and running for the 2013-14 school year and will pay the football schools to keep theÂ BigÂ EastÂ name and play its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York.
BigÂ EastÂ Commissioner Mike Aresco told the AP in a phone interview no deal has been completed between the two groups but "some of this stuff is clearly coming down to the wire."
Aresco will be meeting with the presidents and athletic directors from the football members. The members that do not have FBS football programs will not be part of the meeting.
The seven Catholic schools that are breaking away from the football part of the rebuiltÂ BigÂ EastÂ include some of its founding members and signature schools, such as Georgetown, St. John's and Villanova. The other departing schools are Seton Hall, Providence, DePaul and Marquette.
BigÂ EastÂ football is in the midst of a major makeover, with 2013 scheduled to be another season with lame duck members.
In 2014, Louisville and Rutgers are likely on the way out â€” the Cardinals to the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Scarlet Knights to theÂ BigÂ Ten â€” and Tulane andÂ EastÂ Carolina will join. Navy is schedule to join the BigÂ EastÂ for football in 2015, and the conference is looking to add another member â€” Tulsa is the front-runner â€” to get to an even 12.
TheÂ BigÂ EastÂ is also putting the finishing touches on a new TV deal with ESPN.
The network last week matched an offer made by NBC for the TV rights to the conference. The deal will be for seven years and pay the league about $130 million, though that figure would come down if the seven Catholic schools are not in the league next season.
It had been presumed that the seven basketball schools would stay in the currentÂ BigÂ EastÂ for another year, because time is getting tight to start a new conference. But with a TV deal reportedly waiting for them, it seems they're ready to ramp up the process.
The seven basketball schools reportedly have an offer from Fox to broadcast its games that could earn the schools about $3 million per year, depending on how many more members they bring on. Butler, Xavier and Creighton are being talked about as potential targets.
A faster-than-expected divorce betweenÂ BigÂ EastÂ football and basketball puts Notre Dame in an uncertain situation.
The Fighting Irish have announced they will leave theÂ BigÂ EastÂ and join the ACC in everything but football and hockey, but no timetable has been set for their departure.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has said that he expected the Irish to stay in theÂ BigÂ EastÂ through next season. But what does that mean if theÂ BigÂ EastÂ is now the basketball-only schools?
A phone message left for Swarbrick was not immediately returned Thursday night.