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Big East’s Catholic schools to leave conference
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On December 13, 2012 @ 4:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Mark Blaudschun, Special for USA TODAY Sports
The decision to leave has been made. Now the question is when and how to do it.
The seven Catholic, basketball members of the Big East Conference have decided to announce their departure from the league, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. The two spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the talks were supposed to remain confidential.
An announcement that Villanova, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence, Georgetown and DePaul plan to break away is not likely to happen until the schools decide how they want to proceed.
When negotiations for a new television deal had projections twice and as much as three times smaller than the deal which was in place with ESPN, the Catholic schools met as a group with Aresco to express their concerns. They met again on Sunday night in New York with a sense of unity they had not previously felt or displayed.
Finally, after deliberating, the collective decision was that it would be best to end the arrangement with the Big East as it currently is structured. Although Aresco made repeated efforts Thursday to reach some compromise which would keep the Catholic schools in the Big East, the odds of that happening appear to be minimal at best.
Now, the biggest problem will be how to get through the break up as quickly and painlessly as possible.
The problem facing both the departing schools and Big East commissioner Mike Aresco is in the settlement terms.
The basketball schools have two options. They could withdraw as a group. Normally that would entail an exit fee of at least $10 million and a 27-month waiting period. But in 2003 former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese pushed through an agreement that would eliminate the exit fees for either the football side of the conference or the basketball side if they left as a group. A two-year waiting period would still be enforced.
But by leaving, the basketball schools would forfeit receiving their part of the growing total of exit fees that have been paid or will be paid by Big East schools … [For more on Big East's Catholic member schools to leave conference, click here.]
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