Aresco ‘optimistic’ about Big East’s future
by Mark Blaudschun, Special for USA TODAY Sports
With a decision made to leave the Big East Conference, the Catholic schools that are planning to create their own basketball conference are dealing with one of the main issues behind the move: money.
According to a person familiar with the talks that are being held but who is not authorized to speak, a plan to immediately distribute the exit fee money collected from schools that have left or in the process of leaving — West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville and Rutgers — is being seriously discussed. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
In such a scenario the money — estimated to be more than $20 million — would be distributed among the 10 remaining schools with full voting privileges in the Big East — St. John’s, Villanova, Providence, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Marquette, DePaul, Cincinnati, South Florida and Connecticut. Eventually, the exit fee money will double that total, but much of that is being paid in installments and some of it, in the case of Rutgers, is being disputed.
The exit fee distribution does two things: It allows the seven Catholic schools to take a large financial bonus and still walk away from the league; and it prevents the total amount from being diluted when the Big East expands to a 12-team conference in football on July 1.
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco faces the task of holding in place new members such as Boise State and San Diego State, who are committed to joining the Big East in football July 1. Aresco said he spent much of the day Friday working on various scenarios of reconfiguring his own conference while waiting for an official announcement that the seven Catholic schools were leaving. Although Aresco knows that the decision has been made, the final details of how to make the break are still being put together.
Aresco was on a conference call with his remaining members Friday afternoon discussing ideas on how to proceed.
“We still have quality football and basketball schools,” Aresco told USA Today Sports on Friday after … [For more on Aresco remains 'optimistic' about Big East's future, click here.]