The Big East is Leaving the Big East

Posted: March 8, 2013 in Basketball, College, Football

So much of my focus with the college realignment with the NCAA has been on the ACC and the B1G because of my connection with Maryland, but some significant news has been brewing for some time about the state of the Big East. Seven Catholic schools have had enough of the realignment and the continued dismantling of the Big East. West Virginia left for the Big 12. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are joining the ACC next season and Louisville is joining the following year. Rutgers is following Maryland to the B1G, while Notre Dame has decided to choose their partial alignment with the ACC. So what is left with the Big East?

That was the very question asked by the Catholic 7 (Georgetown, Depaul, Villanova, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall and St. John’s). These are not major football schools, but their mission statements and athletic foci are in alignment. Seeing the writing on the wall, they connected and talked with the current commissioner about a division. The agreement is all but finished. It is inevitable. The Big East is…not dead?

The Catholic 7 are going to be their own conference and slowly add in similar colleges, including Xavier, Dayton, St. Louis, Butler and Creighton over the next two years. The poaching will continue, as they look to get their conference up to the 12 teams needed for a conference tournament champion that would arguably be competitive with the power conferences. Not only are the Catholic 7 getting the chance to leave so quickly, but they get 2 additional prizes…the Big East name and their conference tournament in Madison Square Garden. This leave the current remaining teams in the Big East without a name or consistent identity.

The remaining teams after all of the other transition (UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida) are looking to add a very wide array of teams to fill the gaps, including East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Temple, Tulane and Central Florida. The get their numbers up to 12, they are also looking to add Tulsa and Navy. With less of a consistent identity than the other conferences (big institution type or region), the current name being tossed around is America 12. It is difficult to think that these teams are excited about the hodgepodge nature they have been thrown together and have to be concerned about other poaching or moves. UConn wanted desperately to move to the ACC but Louisville was taken instead. They could try to make another play, and there is always the possibility of the B1G to go after UVA and/or UNC, causing the ACC to poach other teams from the Big East/America 12.

The fate of the Big East/America 12 is still yet to be written, but there will be more moves and surprises within the next year to bring this question to light.


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