3 Total Updates since December 13, 2012
5 months ago Update 10 comments
While we don't know the specifics of what is about to happen in the Big East and what their intentions are, we do know one thing: Gonzaga is being proactive about a possible move. From the New York Daily News:
The seven Catholic schools are likely to invite other like-minded schools to join them in a new conference. Already, Xavier, Dayton, Creighton, Butler and Saint Louis have been discussed informally in the group. One source said that Gonzaga has reached out through back channels about the idea of joining up with the seven.
"No one is really sure how practical that would be because of the travel involved for all teams in all sports," the source said. "But Gonzaga would make the new conference much more attractive to television. Think about Gonzaga playing Georgetown every year or Gonzaga playing in the Garden."
Andy Katz reported similar activity from the Zags yesterday. AD Mike Roth and Head Coach Mark Few have both stated that this is a time when you really need to explore all avenues because Gonzaga is a national brand and if another conference is more viable long term, it needs to be discussed.
While the new conference is being discussed, the best situation would be for the Zags to join as basketball-members only. They could work out a deal with the WCC and keep all other sports there. If the league does turn into a larger conference with 14-16 teams and true East / West groupings, that wouldn't necessarily be an issue.
5 months ago Update 2 comments
If you are feeling a bit behind on the most recent realignment talks, SI's Pete Thamel does an incredible job giving a complete 360-degree look at what it means on multiple levels. re is an excerpt from the piece which is a must read:
Who will be added?
The realignment gold rush will start again. One thing is certain, the seven breakaway Catholic schools will not join the Atlantic-10 as ESPN reported as a possibility earlier this week.
Instead, they will likely use their brands and leverage to poach the Atlantic-10. Many of the schools in that conference fit the religious bend of the league and have strong attendance, infrastructure and brand names. (The A-10 schools would be leaving behind a lot of money in NCAA units.) There are others schools being bandied about, however. George Mason and perhaps VCU will be considered, and Gonzaga is a curious option, though its biggest disadvantage is geography. (The league plans to be an all-sports league, which would make travel expensive.)
The seven schools will have to decide whether they want to consider UConn and Cincinnati, two powerhouse hoops programs. The downside to those is that the Catholic schools have been disappointed in how they've publicly lobbied to leave the Big East. And their inclusion likely wouldn't last long, as they'd jump at the first offer of another conference in order to improve their lot in football. Simply put, inviting those schools would be inviting the problems the conference is attempting to leave.
Temple could be a different story if the Big East breaks up and it ends up in another league for football. Perhaps the league would consider the Owls on a dual-membership basis, although Villanova would likely object.
For now, the Xavier, Butler, Dayton, St. Louis and Creighton are the leaders in the clubhouse. But that's far from settled, and there's plenty more options to discuss.
5 months ago Update 3 comments
The first domino is about to fall, it seems.
As we have seen with other conference shifts, these things tend to move very quickly and it now appears that seven Big East schools are planning to withdraw from the conference, per CBS Sports' Gary Parrish. Per Parrish and other reports, the seven schools leaving the conference are all basketball schools: Marquette, DePaul, St. John's, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, and Villanova. Each of these schools obviously possesses a rich and deep basketball history and, while some have lacked recent success, each are big names in the basketball world.
In conference realignment madness, the Big East has largely been the prey and has seen their biggest programs depart for greener pastures. West Virginia and TCU have already waved goodbye to the league and Syracuse, Pitt, Louisville, Notre Dame, and Rutgers have all made their intentions known that they will be leaving the conference. In response to those major departures, the conference has added Memphis, Temple, Tulane, Central Florida, SMU, and Houston. East Carolina, Boise State, and San Diego State are expected to join as football only members, as well. Needless to say, the remaining Big East schools weren't too impressed with the additions, particularly as it relates to basketball.
The problem for the Catholic seven would be that if they were to venture off without taking the assets and brand name, they would forfeit all the NCAA tournament revenue from the conference and would be left without any start-up to form a new conference. Then, of course, the seven schools would have to attempt to lure Atlantic-10 members Xavier, Dayton, Saint Louis, Butler and possibly Creighton, the latter out of the Missouri Valley, to form a city league that would stretch from St. Louis to Chicago to Milwaukee to Indianapolis to Cincinnati to Dayton to Providence to New York-New Jersey to Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.
We have heard from multiple places that Gonzaga would be receptive to discussing a basketball-only conference move. Earlier today, Adam Zagoria took to Twitter with this:
Hearing Xavier, Butler, VCU, Dayton, St. Louis, Gonzaga and St. Mary's all among targets to join the former Big East Catholic schools— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) December 13, 2012
Luring the major A-10 teams would be the biggest step for the 'Catholic 7' at this point. My gut tells me that Gonzaga and Saint Mary's would both jump at the opportunity to cash in on their biggest revenue sport and join what would become a top basketball conference.
While there is a lot (A LOT) of pieces that need to fall into place to make this happen, the prospects are exciting. Stay tuned in this stream for all updates...