With the Big East as we know it disbanding after this season with Syracuse and Pitt moving to the ACC and the seven Catholic schools (sans Notre Dame) forming their own conference, it looked as if the Big East would be gone forever. But, in an unexpected twist, it looks like the Big East name will live on thanks to the Fox Sports Network. According to reports, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Villanova will be joined by Butler, Xavier and possibly Creighton to form the new Big East. Awesome.
The Big East’s seven departing Catholic schools are expected to start their own league next season and will keep the Big East Conference name, sources told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, Andy Katz and Dana O’Neil.
Joining the Catholic 7 schools — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Villanova — in the new “Big East” this fall will be Xavier and Butler, sources said.Creighton has emerged as the favorite to become the 10th team, and would also join next season, according to sources.
Xavier and Butler have not formally withdrawn from the Atlantic 10. To exit the A-10 with less than a year’s notice would cost each school $2 million, Katz reported.
The Catholic 7’s exit from the Big East is being expedited by Fox Sports Network. The network initially contacted the seven schools and laid the groundwork for them to leave the Big East with the promise of a lucrative media-rights deal, a source said.
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.
Fox Sports Network’s deal with the Catholic 7 is expected to be worth at least $3 million annually per school, sources said.
It’s unknown how much it will cost the Catholic 7 to keep the Big East name.
The departure of the Catholic 7 schools, which would officially begin their new league on July 1, also could mean Notre Dame joins the ACC this summer instead of 2014.