Catholic 7 to keep BIG EAST name, MSG

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Another report released on Tuesday morning by Mark Blaudschun is noting that over the weekend a "framework" for the "Catholic 7" schools of Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette, Seton Hall, St John's, Providence, and DePaul has been implemented that will not only retain the BIG EAST conference name, but Madison Square Garden as site of the conference's tournament.

Blaudschun goes on to note that an official split "could be announced on Thursday".

At that time, the division of the current BIG EAST largesse, which is rumored to be around $100m, will be finalized. It is expected that the UConn, Cincy, USF will take home around $15m each and the C7 schools will receive around $5m in addition to the BIG EAST name and Madison Square Garden site.

Updated 1.57p: In his latest update, Blaudschun reports that the Catholic 7 will back down from their demand for between $3-5 million each, to accept a payout of just $1.5 million each from the Big East's reserve funds, along with the rights to the "Big East" name and permission to leave the conference this summer instead of giving 27 months notice.

The four current full-voting members on the FBS side of the conference will control the remainder of the pot, which will reportedly be around $100 million.

The departing Catholic universities were the motivated party in the negotiations, with a big TV partnership with Fox Sports awaiting them if they can get organized in time for next season. Fox pressured the schools to seek to start their new league next season -- to coincide with the launch of Fox Sport 1 and Fox Sports 2 networks --as well as to make a push to buy the rights to the Big East name.

Blaudschun believes that the announcement could be made by the two sides tomorrow.

Madison Square Garden is expected to exercise their get-out clause in the long-term extension they signed with the Big East this October, and will likely sign a new deal to host the "new" Big East's tournament, likely starting next Spring.

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