New Big East grows in number and in revenue
by Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK – Now that the new Big East is officially 10 teams after adding Xavier, Butler and Creighton on Wednesday, when will it become 12?
Though Georgetown president John DeGioia said talk of expansion is premature, he acknowledged that the league has heard from “quite a few” schools.
Saint Louis and Dayton, both in the Atlantic 10, are considered primary targets during the next round.
“Whether or how we get to 12 is negotiation for us and our partner,” said Providence president Rev. Brian Shanley on Wednesday when the league’s new media rights deal with Fox was announced at News Corp’s headquarters in New York. “We also believe that the landscape of college sports has not stopped morphing, and there may be some movement out there.”
The league, which kept the Big East name after a negotiation with the league’s football-playing schools, begins play this fall. The Big East tournament will remain at Madison Square Garden, where it’s been played for 31 years. The league’s headquarters will be in New York as well. A New York-based firm, with the help of former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, is conducting a search for the league’s first commissioner.
Calling the move a relaunch and reboot of the Big East, Shanley also acknowledged the past and founding father Dave Gavitt. “We never intended to be an all-Catholic conference,” Shanley said. “That was never part of Dave’s vision. We don’t take Butler just because they’re the token non-Catholic. They’re ferocious on the basketball court. And there’s no truth to the rumor that we took two Jesuit schools (Xavier and Creighton) because there’s a Jesuit pope,” he joked.
“I think Dave is smiling down right now with what we’re doing.”
Given the continually shifting conference picture, many of the athletic directors and president’s of the Big East’s 10 schools present at the announcement said the new deal gives the league stability.