NON-FBS foot­ball schools of Big East want out

The fu­ture of the league could be at stake with the lat­est sit­u­a­tion.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - By ralph russo

NEW YORK — The Big East is headed for an­other break up. This time, the seven prom­i­nent bas­ket­ball schools that don’t play FBS foot­ball are plan­ning to break away from the ever-chang­ing con­fer­ence.

The di­vorce is ex­pected to be com­pli­cated, maybe even con­tentious, with mil­lions of dol­lars and pos­si­bly the fu­ture of the league at stake.

The Big East’s non-foot­ball mem­bers de­cided Thurs­day to sep­a­rate from the con­fer­ence, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the de­ci­sion told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The per­son spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of­fi­cials from those schools are still sort­ing through de­tails and try­ing to fig­ure how best to split from the con­fer­ence. No of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment is im­mi­nent.

The seven schools that don’t play FBS-level foot­ball are St. John’s, Ge­orge­town, Mar­quette, DePaul, Se­ton Hall, Prov­i­dence and Vil­lanova. Of­fi­cials at those schools have con­cerns about the di­rec­tion of the con­fer­ence and feel as if they have lit­tle power to in­flu­ence it.

Com­mis­sioner Mike Aresco con­ferred by phone with the lead­ers of those seven schools ear­lier in the day, ac­cord­ing to an­other per­son fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion, also speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The cur­rent Big East foot­ball mem­ber­ship in­cludes only four schools — South Florida, Con­necti­cut and Cincin­nati, Tem­ple — that are com­mit­ted to the league be­yond 2013. But there are 11 schools with plans to join the Big East in the next three years, in­clud­ing Boise State and San Diego State for foot­ball only in 2013.

Be­cause those schools won’t be mem­bers un­til next sum­mer, the ma­jor­ity of the vot­ing mem­bers of the Big East are bas­ket­ball schools right now. Still, those schools aren’t in po­si­tion to dis­solve the con­fer­ence. That would take the votes of at least two foot­ball mem­bers, ac­cord­ing to the Big East by­laws.

The Catholic schools can leave with­out fi­nan­cial penalty. The Big East has pro­vi­sions in its by­laws that al­low a group of schools to leave with­out exit fees.

But what they would do re­mains un­clear, as are the le­gal ram­i­fi­ca­tions of their ac­tions. There has been spec­u­la­tion those seven bas­ket­ball schools could merge with the At­lantic 10 or pos­si­bly add schools from that league to cre­ate a bas­ket­ball-only con­fer­ence of smaller Catholic schools.

One of the many things that will need to be sorted out is who owns the rights to the name Big East. Will it stay with new mem­bers or go with the old. Ge­orge­town, Prov­i­dence, Se­ton Hall and St John’s were among the orig­i­nal mem­bers of the con­fer­ence when it was formed pri­mar­ily for bas­ket­ball in 1979. Vil­lanova came in a year later. Mar­quette and DePaul came in 2005, the Big East’s last pre­vi­ous ma­jor ex­pan­sion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.