The Catholic 7 are looking to secure an exit from the Big East that will happen before next season, likely taking their old Conference's name with them.
Mark Blaudschun reports that representatives of the Big East's two factions, the football schools and the departing Catholic 7 schools will continue conversations regarding the timing and particulars of their separation today. The goal for the Catholic universities is to wrap up a deal to end their term in the league by this summer (ideally taking the Big East name along with them) by Tuesday night.
The football schools, specifically UConn, Cincinnati and Temple, are apparently amenable to allowing that arrangement in principle, but there remains a matter of money to be dealt with.
The Big East reportedly holds a fund of up to $100 million from the exit fees and NCAA tournament money earned by departing (or departed) members of the conference. The football schools are proposing that they allow the Catholic 7 to move on with the 'Big East' name and around $10-15 million out of that fund, leaving Around $85 million for the three remaining football schools and the league office to split up.
Those three football schools could also share a portion of the fund with incoming football members.
The departing group of Catholic schools, planning to form a new conference next fall — Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John's, Seton Hall, Providence and DePaul — are arguing that they should get a larger portion of the funds. The group would have reportedly received at least twice what the football schools are offering had they stayed for the 2013-14 basketball season.
They are the ones motivated to complete a deal by Tuesday, however, to allow Fox Sports to announce their new relationship with the conference ahead of a presentation to potential advertisers scheduled for that day.
The league may consist of just nine members during it's inaugural season, with Butler and Xavier almost certain to join the fold with some financial help from the C7 schools to buy their own early exit from the Atlantic 10. The idea would be to play a 16 game double-round-robin schedule with nine members, but they may still also opt to start with 10 members, adding one of Richmond, Creighton, Dayton or St. Louis.
According to Blaudschun's sources, while Notre Dame might be interested in spending one season with the Catholic 7's new Big East before heading to their new home in the ACC, there doesn't appear to be support for such a move among the new conference's officials.
Madison Square Garden will also reportedly engage the new conference, which would assume the Big East identity, in discussions about hosting a post-season basketball tournament. Blaudschun believes that those negotiations will lead to an agreement between the new conference and the arena. MSG has the ability to opt out of the long term extension that was signed with the FBS side of the conference, and would likely do so in light of the split.