Report: Seven Catholic Schools To Leave Big East

Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

According to an ESPN report written by Brett McMurphy, Andy Katz and Dana O'Neil, the group of Catholic schools in the Big East -- Villanova, Georgetown, St. John's, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence and DePaul -- are close to splitting away from the football members.

According to an ESPN report written by Brett McMurphy, Andy Katz and Dana O'Neil, the group of Catholic schools in the Big East -- Villanova, Georgetown, St. John's, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence and ... and ... (looks it up) DePaul -- are close to splitting away from the football members.

Sources told ESPN "it would be an upset" if the Catholic Seven remained in the Big East. The Catholic 7 have scheduled a teleconference with Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco on Thursday and will issue a statement within 24-48 hours.

This is all Tulane's fault, by the way.

A Big East source from a football-playing school told ESPN on Sunday, "The basketball schools are not thrilled with Tulane" and "would have fallen off the ledge if we would have added East Carolina as a full member."

Williams acknowledged he was "not pleased" specifically about adding Tulane.

Should the Catholic 7 break away, it would decrease the value of the next Big East TV contract by "15 to 20 percent," according to industry sources. That doesn't sound like a lot at first glance. But with the Big East losing its AQ status when the college football playoff begins in 2014, and on equal footing with the Mountain West, it may be enough of a financial hit that the league could lose Boise State and San Diego State.

The Catholic 7 need a two-thirds majority to dissolve the league. In addition to the seven Catholic schools, only Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida have a vote -- giving the basketball-only schools one more than a two-thirds majority. Temple, which joins as a full member at the end of this athletic year, doesn't have a vote until July 1.

Obviously disastrous news for regional little r rival Connecticut, which could very well lose its hoops connection with the conference's power basketball programs and find themselves playing in a Division I-A football conference with the likes of Tulane, Memphis, Central Florida, Temple and SMU.

Sources told ESPN that UConn president Susan Herbst has already contacted officials from the CYO7, pleading with them to stay in the league.

Dissolving the Big East could mean that the new CYO league loses its connection to Madison Square Garden, which I'm sure the ACC would be happy to take off the conference's hands.

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