If you haven't heard, ESPN reported tonight that the 'Catholic 7' schools breaking away from the Big East will actually be taking the league name with them. Furthermore, they'll be leaving immediately and will begin conference play for the 2013-2014 season. This brings about numerous questions, only some of which can be answered at the moment.
1. Who will be part of the "new" Big East, formerly known as the 'Catholic 7' in 2013-2014?
The original seven schools - DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence, St. John's and Villanova - will be joined by Xavier and Butler for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. ESPN reports that the A-10 buyout for the two schools is $2 million apiece. There will also supposedly be a tenth team added to the group for the 2013-2014 season, though it isn't known which. There is also a possibility that Notre Dame could play in the conference for one season before leaving for the ACC in 2014.
2. What about after the 2013-2014 season?
ESPN reports that Creighton, Dayton and Saint Louis will be joining for the 2014-2015 season, making it a 13-team league. It is not known if the league would be looking for one more to get to 14 teams.
3. What will the old Big East look like for the 2013-2014 season in football and basketball?
Syracuse and Pittsburgh are gone on July 1st. Rutgers and Louisville, however, don't leave for their new conferences until the 2014-2015 season. Notre Dame is on the same timeline. So for the 2013-2014 football season, the league formerly known as the Big East will consist of:
- South Florida
Tulane and ECU will join in 2014, replacing Louisville and Rutgers. Navy will join in 2015 for football. Expect the conference to look for a twelfth team.
- South Florida
- Notre Dame (possibly)
After the 2013-2014 season, Louisville and Notre Dame leave for the ACC, while Tulane joins the conference. That leaves the old Big East with nine teams to start the 2014-2015 season.
4. What's the deal with Notre Dame?
Notre Dame is supposed to move to the ACC for the 2014-2015 season. While the Irish are independent in football, they will have a relationship with the ACC that requires them to play four ACC opponents each year.
The 'Catholic 7's move leaves the Irish in a tough position. In a perfect world, Notre Dame would expedite its move to the ACC. But since it's a bit late in the game for that (and Louisville isn't joining until 2014), the Irish are probably going to be choosing between staying in the old Big East for one season or joining up with the 'Catholic 7' for a one-year deal. How that'll pan out is anyone's guess.