Sources: Catholic 7 Eventually Will Expand To 12 Teams, Target Midwestern Schools
The group of schools known as the Catholic 7 will "eventually grow to 12 -- perhaps not all of them Catholic -- when they formally begin play as a conference," according to sources cited by John Feinstein of the WASHINGTON POST. Georgetown President John DeGioia has been "charged with piecing together the new league." Sources said that the job was given to him in large part because of "a lack of interest on the part of the presidents of St. John’s, Villanova, Seton Hall, DePaul, Marquette and Providence." The new league is DeGioia's "chance to put a financial stamp on the school he has run since 2001." Conference leaders "want six eastern and six western -- really, midwestern -- schools." The eastern division of the league will "consist" of Georgetown, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence and either Richmond or Siena. The western portion of the conference would "consist of Marquette, DePaul, Saint Louis, Xavier, Dayton and Butler." Two Atlantic 10 teams that will not be asked to join the new league "are Saint Joseph's and La Salle, because Villanova would block any move to add another team from Philadelphia." DeGioia also has "targeted a potential commissioner" in George Mason AD Tom O'Connor, who has one year left on his contract. O'Connor said that he has "no interest in retiring and has, in fact, been talking to the school about an extension." O'Connor would be a "good fit for the new league because he is a basketball lifer." However, last week he said, "I’m not a candidate. As far as I know they aren’t even at a point where they’re identifying candidates -- me or anyone else." The other name that came up "almost as soon as the new league was announced" was former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese (WASHINGTON POST, 2/17).
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Siena AD John D'Argenio discussed the school's reported allure to the Catholic 7 and said, "It's always flattering when the college's name is put in a group of schools like that. But it's just somebody that wrote an article and speculates." He said that Siena "hasn't been contacted by representatives from any of the Catholic 7 schools." D'Argenio: "We're not that dissimilar to some of the schools that are there. But that doesn't mean we're similar enough to make the jump, either" (TIMESUNION.com, 2/17).