The Presidents of the Catholic 7 schools were reportedly meeting today in New York City to discuss issues related to their new venture.
The Catholic 7 schools — Villanova, St. John's, Seton Hall, Georgetown, De Paul, Marquette, and Providence — have more than a few issues to resolve before they can launch their new league. Among those are the key questions of "which schools will be in the conference?" and "when will the conference launch?"
The C-7 currently are obligated to play out another two seasons after this one in the Big East, which creates a few issues. It means that they will have two largely uncertain years until they begin play in a new conference. It also makes the delicate dance of recruiting new charter members all the more difficult — few other conferences require more than one-season's notice and many still allow an immediate exit.
An exit timeframe of one more Big East season after the current one should be sufficient for the schools to get their administration in place, negotiate a television contract, and recruit additional charter members — at least three additional schools should be lined up ahead of time to ensure that the league can play an 18-game schedule.
A television contract won't be wrapped up until the league has a definite start-date and membership.
The Presidents of the seven schools reportedly scheduled a meeting to discuss these issues, and perhaps to begin talk about their future TV/media package or to discuss appointing or hiring a commissioner, according to a report from the Hartford Courant.
It may be possible for these schools to negotiate a sooner exit from the Big East's football side than the 27 months require, but other items, such as ownership the Big East name will also be on the negotiating table. A sooner exit or the league's brand name would potentially cost the schools some or all of the exit fee money they would like to keep from the football schools that left the Big East since 2011.
The C-7 released the following statement on Friday afternoon:
Earlier today, university presidents representing the seven basketball schools of the Big East met in New York to discuss our orderly evolution to a foundation of basketball schools that continues to honor the history and tradition on which the Big East was established.
We have retained the services of Proskauer Rose LLP and Pilson Communications, Inc.
We had a very productive engagement among our group of seven and expect that there will be ongoing discussion and conversation among our group and our colleagues in the Big East as we continue to pursue our evolution.
Pilson Communications is a consulting firm, headed by former CBS executive Neal Pilson, that works with leagues to help secure television contracts and distribution deals. Proskauer Rose, meanwhile, is one of the nation's biggest law firms.
While hiring a television consultant is a move in contemplation of the league's Television contract, hiring a law firm isn't necessarily a move toward contemplating a law suit. The new league will require attorneys to handle it's incorporation and drafting of bylaws, contracts with potential partner schools and other start-up needs. The firm hired, Proskauer, has a large corporate department that has experience in these matters as well.
Proskauer Rose currently employs three Villanova alumni (one Partner), three DePaul alumni, one Providence alumnus, 11 Seton Hall alumni (one Partner), 12 St. John's alumni, and around 38 Georgetown alumni. They do not employ any Marquette alumni according to their firm directory.