Big East's non-football members meet, discuss possible breakaway
hovis Dec 11, 12:24 p.m.
The meeting was first reported by Mark Blaudschun.
"SI.com's Pete Thamel is reporting that Big East commissioner Mike Aresco attended.
This development comes less than a week after CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd reported that the Big East's next TV deal could be worth as little as $60 million annually, meaning the league's seven non-football members -- Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova and DePaul -- will make a fraction of what they figured to make before Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Louisville announced within the past 15 months that they're leaving the Big East. Considering TV revenue has long been viewed as the only tangible reason for the non-football members to remain affiliated with the football-playing members, last week's report combined with the possibility of additional changes has the non-football members now exploring other options. One possibility, a source said, is the non-football members forming a basketball-only league and perhaps inviting other relevant basketball schools without FBS-level football programs to join them -- schools like Butler, VCU, Xavier, Saint Louis, Dayton, George Mason and Creighton.
How much TV revenue could a league like that generate?
The answer is unclear.
But it probably wouldn't be significantly less than the roughly $1 million per year Dodd's report suggests the non-football members might get from the deal Aresco is currently trying to negotiate, and, just as important, a new basketball-only league wouldn't force schools like Georgetown and Marquette to water-down their schedules and blow their budgets playing against and traveling to schools like Tulane and Houston. In the end, that's what the non-football members must decide -- whether a few hundred-thousand dollars per year from a TV contract is worth them remaining part of a league they no longer recognize. A source said a decision, one way or another, is expected before July 1, i.e., the date Memphis, Houston, U
hovis Dec 11, 12:25 p.m.
UCF and SMU are scheduled to join the Big East as all-sports members."
From CBS sports.
hovis Dec 11, 1:22 p.m.
They are looking to take the "Big East" name with them too David Glenn says.
Ken D. Dec 11, 1:52 p.m.
Timing is critical in that regard. Currently, there are 7 non-football schools in the Big East. There are three all-sports members left (UConn, Cincy and South Florida), and several schools that will soon become voting members. Temple's status regarding voting on membership issues is unclear, but critical.
Without Temple, the 7 non-football schools would have the two thirds majority they would need to dissolve the conference and negotiate some arrangement in which the Big East brand, and its claim to NCAA basketball revenue distributions, would survive. With dissolution, the unhappy basketball schools would not be subject to any exit fees (nor would the football schools).
But if Temple is allowed to vote, the unhappy seven fall short of the 67% they need to dissolve. And once the new football members get on board, those seven are screwed. Also reported in the past few hours is a strong indication that Boise is unlikely to follow through on joining, which would surely leave San Diego State unwilling to come aboard. That would leave the league with ten football members, eight of which came from CUSA.
If Boise does withdraw, and bidding networks evaluate the possibility of UConn and Cincy going to the ACC (not a given, to be sure, but negotiating leverage for the networks) even that $60MM number is likely to drop sharply.
The seven Catholic schools can do the math. I would be very surprised at this point if they don't move to dissolve the Big East and sue to retain the Big East brand name for themselves.
hovis Dec 11, 1:58 p.m.
This is exactly what we talked about happening a while back. Kind of sad that it looks likely to happen now that ECU finally gained their long awaited entrance. I would say that it will definitely happen because of the money involved. Oh well.
Ken D. Dec 11, 2:24 p.m.
If the league were to dissolve before July 1, that would create more than a little havoc with the 2013 schedule. The BE has already announced its sked for next season based on having 12 teams, including Boise, SDSU and Houston (all of which have legal outs if the TV contract falls short of specified goals) as well as Rutgers. There could be a lot of scrambling for opponents in the next few months.
Another question is: if the BE formally dissolves, what is the status of the schools slated to join but not yet formally in? I doubt there is anything binding on anybody at that point. I wouldn't automatically assume that the ten remaining football schools (excluding Boise and SDSU) would think that configuration is the best they can do.
hovis Dec 11, 2:50 p.m.
From what I have read if the BE formally dissolves then there would be nothing that would make the agreements that have been made with the future members binding in any way.
It is also of note that (before people start suggesting this) the schools in question could not join another conference "en masse" because due to some NCAA rules they would be starting a new conference. This disolution also means that the those teams would forfeit the accumulated NCAA tournament revenues to this point. I have not really figured out what exactly that means but it is somewhat like this:
Teams do not get paid every year based on one years performance (you get more money the further you go in the tournament).
The conference gets paid an average of something like five years worth of NCAA average finishes.
The same way that these schools voting for dissolution would nullify their exit fee it would also nullify some part or all of these earnings because there is no conference to pay. It is extremely complicated and we cannot really see the contracts ourselves and this info is gleaned from various sites.
Ken D. Dec 11, 2:59 p.m.
That would suggest that the best strategy for the U7 (unhappy 7 schools) is to negotiate an arrangement where everybody else but them leaves the BE in exchange for retaining their rights to future tournament revenue distributions and no exit fees.
Coach C Dec 11, 3:07 p.m.
If this happens? They would be the second best basketball conference behind the ACC
hovis Dec 11, 3:11 p.m.
Right. Current speculation runs that if they dissolved the league and left and then reestablished themselves as a bball only conference they would instantly lose about 500K per team. Then they would add some of those A10 basketball teams and form a new conference. This would also cost some money for administraion and other costs (do not know what exactly those would amount to). The only real benifits would be a possible increased future revenue because of the added teams. The main thing that they mention is that they are dead set against the "dilution" of the Big East brand, the increased costs of travel, and would welcome the better competition. Also, they would not be at the mercy of the football teams. In their thinking, the football teams could vote to add 4 or 5 more teams and add them in basketball also further diluting their brand and revenues.
It was also stated that the reason that ECU was not admitted for all sports is that the Big East refused the idea saying that the Big East BB only schools would not accept this.
Ken D. Dec 11, 3:41 p.m.
I have been unable to find anything definitive explaining the "8 year continuity" rule governing the recognition of FBS football conferences.
I can't imagine that this rule would prevent schools from deciding to form a new conference, unless there is currently a moratorium on the number of conferences. But as of next season, the WAC will no longer exist, leaving only 10 FBS conferences and 124 schools.
One thing is for sure. Bylaws notwithstanding, if Notre Dame were to get 7 other schools to join them in a new conference, nobody would stop them.
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