SBD/December 13, 2012/Colleges

Big East's Seven Catholic Basketball Schools Expected To Leave Or Dissolve Conference

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Seton Hall, Providence among seven schools expected to split from the Big East
The Big East Conference this afternoon will announce that its "non-FBS programs are splitting from their brethren," according to sources cited by Lenn Robbins of the N.Y. POST. The presidents of the seven schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova -- this morning held a teleconference with Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco, who was "hoping to hold the league together." However, sources said that the seven schools "had had enough of the defections that had wreaked havoc on the league in the last couple of years." It was unknown whether the schools "were going to dissolve the league," which would allow them to "keep the name and its contract" with MSG for its postseason basketball tournament. Big East members including Temple, Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida "are in terrible limbo" (NYPOST.com, 12/13). ESPN.com's McMurphy, Katz & O'Neil cite Big East bylaws that state the conference “can be dissolved in a vote of the league members by a two-thirds majority.” A source said that Temple, as a football-only member, has “voting rights but can't vote on dissolution of the league.” With Temple “unable to vote, that gives the seven basketball schools enough votes to dissolve the league.” If the seven basketball schools leave the Big East, it will be “a crippling blow to the Big East's media rights negotiations.” A source said that if the Big East lost the seven schools, it “would decrease the value of the league's media rights by ‘15 to 20 percent.’” These factors also could “affect decisions by Boise State and San Diego State to join the league in 2013 as football-only members” (ESPN.com, 12/12). In Hartford, Paul Doyle cited a source as saying that Georgetown is “leading the faction as teams consider breaking away and forming a league, perhaps inviting other basketball schools from around the country or partnering with the Atlantic 10” (HARTFORD COURANT, 12/12).

TV RIGHTS KEY
: CBSSPORTS.com’s Dennis Dodd reported Boise State President Bob Kustra oversees a school that "wields more power than ever in its 80-year history." If the school “bolts the Big East -- and it could, easily, today if it wanted to -- the reconfigured league falls apart,” unless Cincinnati or the seven Catholic schools “beat Boise State to it.” There was “interest from a rights-holder in televising Boise State's home games only, similar to Notre Dame.” That is not to say Boise State “would go independent, but it is a sign that the football program alone has television value no matter where it ends up” (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/12). AJERSEYGUY.com's Mark Blaudschun reported one of the networks that Aresco was “counting on coming through with a significant offer” for Big East TV rights was NBC/Comcast, which “ostensibly needs programing for its cable outlet.” But sources said that the money “offered to the Big East by NBC/Comcast will be very much on the low end of the spectrum” (AJERSEYGUY.com, 12/12).
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