The Big East likely will "remain intact for one more season as Notre Dame and the seven other exiting Catholic members take more time to negotiate their exits," according to Toni Ginnetti of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick on Thursday said that the university has been "unable to negotiate its early departure before the required 27-month waiting period." He added, "We’ve said all along we would try to develop a timetable for leaving earlier because we think it’s in both parties’ interests. That just hasn’t happened." Men's basketball coach Mike Brey said that the continuing membership of the other Catholic 7 schools for at least one more season was "another reason to stay." However, if the Catholic 7 were to leave early, Swarbrick said that the university would "reconsider its decision to stay" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/8). Brey on Thursday indicated that the decision to play one more year in the Big East was "made" last Friday. He added, "We do know we’ll be in the Big East next season. Thank God we have some direction." In South Bend, Tom Noie wrote with the chance the Big East’s seven Catholic schools likely are "staying put for 2013-14, remaining in the Big East is that much more attractive for Brey." Brey said, "I feel strongly that the Catholic schools are going to be there with us. That’s one of the reasons we decided to sit tight" (SOUTHBENDTRIBUNE.com, 2/7).
WORKING ON THE DETAILS: ESPN.com's Andy Katz reports the Catholic 7 still are "negotiating their exit from the Big East and are far from finalizing a date to withdraw," though the exit is "likely for the fall of 2014." The league still needs to "lock in on a television partner ... and a commissioner." Sources said that Fox is the "leader in the clubhouse" for the TV rights (ESPN.com, 2/8).
BCS Exec Dir Bill Hancock said that the selection committee for college football's playoff would "consist of between 14-20 members, including at least one individual representing each of the 10 FBS conferences," according to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. The committee will "resemble the NCAA men's basketball tournament's selection committee." Hancock said that committee members could "come from all walks of life, including former commissioners, former and current athletic directors and former coaches." He said, "We want experienced football purists, experts." The selection committee will "receive a 'jury charge' from the commissioners." In ranking the teams, the committee will "consider strength of schedule, where the games were played, conference championships and whether teams lost games because of injuries to key players." The commissioners "next meet April 23-25 in Pasadena, Calif." At that time, they are "expected to officially announce Cowboys Stadium ... as the site of the first title game on Jan. 12, 2015." The commissioners also "likely will reveal in April the three other bowls that will host the semifinals." Sources said that they "would be the Cotton, Tostitos Fiesta and Chick-fil-A bowls." Commissioners at that time also likelywill reveal the "name of the new playoff, and how the selection committee will be formed" (ESPN.com, 2/7). USA TODAY's George Schroeder noted "comparisons with basketball are imperfect." The four-team field is "much smaller, and so is the sample size (12 or 13 games vs. 35), which makes the stakes -- and scrutiny -- much higher." ACC Commissioner John Swofford said, "Everything about the selection committee is intensified and accentuated. Everything is accelerated" (USATODAY.com, 2/7).
Perhaps the "greatest legal threat to the NCAA is the class action suit filed" by former UCLA F Ed O'Bannon, according to Alexander Wolff of SI. The case has been "picking up plaintiffs" including Basketball HOFers Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson, and O'Bannon's lawyers have "successfully added current college athletes to the complaint." The latest ruling will "increase pressure on the NCAA to settle and to do so on plaintiffs' terms." The case "could result in a payout of billions of dollars if it were to reach a jury." The discovery also has "revealed the breathtaking value of the business the NCAA conducts with its broadcast, licensing and marketing partners, none of whom are happy to be divulging their trade secrets" (SI, 2/11 issue). GRANTLAND's Charles Pierce wrote the O'Bannon suit is the "meteor" the NCAA "never saw coming." And if it "hits, and it's more than likely that it will, it will be an extinction-level event for college sports as we know it." It also could "force the development of a more equitable system in which the people who do the work get a decent share of the profits. All the profits." As the TV "revenues soared and marketing opportunities boomed, the deal got all out of whack." The athletes have "found a fair and level field on which to contest the NCAA's control over their lives, and the stakes are as high as they can be." The public has "started to turn around on the issue, too." For the NCAA to "survive in its current form, it has to win this lawsuit or get the lawsuit dismissed." There is "no third alternative." The NCAA "can't settle and then go back to the status quo ante" (GRANTLAND.com, 2/6).