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Catholic 7 To Begin Play In 2013-14, Opening Up Possibility Of Notre Dame Joining ACC A Year Early

Of course.

Jonathan Daniel

The seven non-FBS Big East schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova -- are expected to start their own league next season and will keep the Big East name, according to a report from ESPN's Brett McMurphy, Andy Katz and Dana O'Neill.

Joining the Catholic 7 in the new league will be Butler and Xavier, though neither has formally withdrawn from the Atlantic 10 at this point. To exit the Atlantic 10 with less than a year's notice will cost both each school $2 million.

Fox Sports Network greased the skids for the seven non-FBS Big East schools to leave a year early. A deal between the new network and the new, new Big East is expected to be announced on Tuesday. The Catholic 7's deal with the fledgling network is expected to be worth at least $3 million annually per school, or roughly $1 million more than the schools they are leaving behind will receive for their media rights for basketball AND football.

The big news for Boston College and the ACC is that the departure of the Catholic 7 schools from the Big East to the Big East could also mean that Notre Dame joins the ACC this summer instead of 2014.

Sources said Notre Dame has planned on remaining in the Big East for the 2013-14 academic year as long as the Catholic 7 schools did so. However, if those schools left before then, the Fighting Irish would also look to join the ACC this summer.

If unable to join the ACC in 2013-14, the Fighting Irish would consider spending one season in the Catholic 7 league before moving to the ACC in 2014, a source said.

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick had previously mentioned that the league was open to adding the Irish a year early because ... of course they are. While I understand the conference wanting to be as accommodating as possible at the outset of the Notre Dame-ACC relationship, the Irish shouldn't be allowed into the conference earlier without the league getting something in return. I see no reason why Notre Dame can't slum it with the old Big East schools for one more season before joining the ACC in 2014-15 other than Notre Dame being predictably full of themselves.

If the Irish want to join the league a year early, shouldn't they have to honor their five games a year football scheduling deal with the ACC starting this season as well? That's part of the deal, no?

The ESPN report also mentions the possibility of Notre Dame spending one season in the Catholic 7 league before moving to the ACC. That would be an incredibly dumb move on the part of the fledgling league. If you are starting over, why would you possibly want to add a school with incredible amounts of baggage for just one season? I doubt the Catholic 7 goes for that given the non-FBS schools reluctance to pursue adding Connecticut and Connecticut in all sports except football. I also doubt that it ever comes to that.

Louisville can't join the conference a year early before Maryland goes to the Big Ten. Fifteen football programs is unworkable and until the ACC's lawsuit against Maryland is settled, the Terps won't be released to the Big Ten earlier than 2014-15.

If I had to guess, Notre Dame will join the league for the 2013-14 season. All the conference will get out of this deal is to be graced by the presence of Notre Dame's basketball and Olympic sports programs a year early. Oh, and a previously scheduled Pitt football home game against the Irish. So one of five contractually obligated football games against ACC programs in 2013. Awesome.