Reports: C7 set to break off

John F. Silver

There isn’t any white smoke coming out of the Big East offices in Providence, but it looks like there will be a new conference coming next season in college basketball.

The name?

The Big East.

According to multiple online reports, ESPN, SI and all the usual suspects, the Catholic 7 are going to get out of the Big East this summer and take the Big East name with them.

Here’s ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and Andy Katz with the news.

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Xavier and Butler have not formally withdrawn from the Atlantic 10.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.

Now SI’s Pete Thamel also has some news on Notre Dame, which will look to leave the conference too and head to the ACC a year early. Or, it could play one year in the C7:

This latest development puts the Notre Dame basketball in limbo, as the Irish want to avoid a year in flux before their planned move to the ACC. Notre Dame’s strong preference would be to enter the ACC next year, an option that’s possible as the ACC schedule for next season hasn’t been completed.

The ACC would be Notre Dame’s first choice, followed by a stopover year in the Catholic Seven The least favored option would be playing with the leftover Big East teams.

Some clarity is also expected soon about Madison Square Garden as the home for a postseason basketball venue. It’s expected that MSG will eventually link together with the Catholic Seven schools, barring any significant interest by the ACC to become an annual occupant. (That interest is unlikely because of the ACC’s traditional Southern geographic ties.)

 

Now, it’s time to take a deep breath and figure out where the Huskies are in all of this. This is not football related, so the Big East — or whatever it is called next year — will have its football schedule meaning Louisville and Rutgers will be in the league next year. After that?

Right now the hoops league, and all other sports, will have a league consisting of UConn, Cincinnati, South Florida and newcomers Temple, Memphis, Central Florida, Houston, Southern Methodist,   Louisville (2013-14), Rutgers (2013-14) for a 10-team conference next year.

Tulane is set to come in in 2014 as Rutgers and Louisville depart. Navy comes in 2015 for football, and East Carolina is set for 2014 entrance in football. East Carolina could very well come in for all sports in 2014 if need be to create a 10-team conference.  Football remains in flux.

The current Big East, which will have a new name, is going to need a new home for the hoops tournament. Madison Square Garden is the home of the Big East, but the C7 and the newly formed Big East would be a better fit in all likelihood.