Thursday, December 13, 2012

Big East on the verge of collapse

Right around the time the Big East was sending out the football matchups for the 2013 season, the seven non-FBS programs were uniting together to deliver what could be the final blow to the beleaguered conference.

ESPN, citing sources close to the situation, is reporting that DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's Seton Hall and Villanova have agreed to leave to the Big East. The report said a conference call is set for Saturday where there is a possibility the seven schools, which includes four original Big East members, officially announce their decision to leave the Big East.

One of the issues facing the seven schools is how they choose to leave the conference - or if they take control of the conference name. There is a stipulation that seven universities leaving the conference together can retain the automatic bid into the NCAA basketball tournament. One rumor circulating in recent days is that the seven schools could join a conference like the Atlantic-10 or look to entice other non-FBS Catholic schools to join them in a conference.

It appears that Louisville's decision to leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference as well as the feeling that Cincinnati and UConn were openly politicking to get bids from the ACC. In particular the decision to add Tulane as a full member seemed to irk the seven schools as they are reported to have feared it would damage the conference's RPI.

The move would leave UConn as the only original member of the Big East remaining in the conference, that is if the Big East name doesn't go with the seven Catholic schools.

It goes without saying that is devastating news for UConn. While this is a move initiated for basketball reasons, the further uncertainty surrounding the Big East could result in teams agreeing to come into the conference for football having second thoughts. It would be an understatement of incredible proportions to say this decision couldn't come at a worse time as Big East commissioner Mike Aresco is still leading negotiations for the new television contract for the Big East.


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