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Breaking news late Saturday night gave an official voice to two of The Seven's long rumored new partners.
Someone's outta here. I'm not entirely sure who's actually leaving.
We've seen a flurry of news stories in the last day or so about the future of the Big East. Most of them are repeating last week's news.
Multiple reports indicate that Marquette and the rest of the Catholic 7 will leave the Big East (v.1.5) this summer -- and they're taking the Big East name, Xavier and Butler, and maybe Madison Square Garden with them.
Two articles yesterday made it clear that the Catholic Big East schools are serious about their effort to start their new conference following this school year.
I don't know why anyone else didn't think of this before, so let's thank Ben Greene of The Marquette Tribune for going straight to the athletic department with some questions about The Seven.
This certainly goes a long way to confirming Darren Rovell's report, doesn't it?
ESPN's Darren Rovell reports that The Seven have not only begun television negotiations, but that they've got a snazzy deal on the table already.
Just because it's late in the day on Friday doesn't mean news can't break. In this case, the news is that Boise State is exploring the option of remaining in the Mountain West Conference instead of moving football to the Big East and their other sports to the Big West for next school year.
At first glance, 1:30 p.m. CST on a Saturday might seem like an odd time to release the official announcement that you and six of your closest Catholic friends are leaving your conference, but you know what? We're in strange territory here, people: turning their backs on the FOOTBAWWWW establishment and boldly, courageously, and maybe foolhardily going their own way, the Catholic 7 -- better known to you as Marquette, Georgetown, DePaul, St. John's, Villanova, Seton Hall, and Providence -- issued a press release minutes ago confirming that they're collectively leaving the Big East Conference.
Via CollegeBasketballTalk's Rob Dauster, here's the release from the presidents of the C7 schools:
Earlier today we voted unanimously to pursue an orderly evolution to a foundation of basketball schools that honors the history and tradition on which the Big East was established. Under the current context of conference realignment, we believe pursuing a new basketball framework that builds on this tradition of excellence and competition is the best way forward.
We are grateful to our Commissioner, Michael Aresco, for his exceptional leadership of the Big East Conference. We have been honored to be associated with the outstanding group of institutions that have made up the Big East. While we pursue this opportunity for our institutions, we believe the efforts of the past two years have established the foundation for an enduring national football conference.
We look forward to building this new foundation with an emphasis on elite competition and a commitment to the development of our students engaged in intercollegiate athletics. That is where we will now spend our energy as we move forward.
Here's a bit more from Marquette's president, Rev. Scott Pilarz, and athletic director, Larry Williams:
Dear members of the Marquette community,
We are writing to inform you today that Marquette University, along with six other colleges and universities, has made a decision to end our association with the BIG EAST Conference. DePaul University, Georgetown University, Providence College, Seton Hall University, St. John's University and Villanova University have also ended their association with the conference, and together we will explore our options to develop a premier athletics conference centered on elite-level basketball.
So many of you fondly recall both the historical and modern successes of Marquette Athletics, including our men's basketball program, from our National Championship in 1977, our Final Four appearance in 2003 and the back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in 2011 and 2012. This move will allow us to enhance the elite status of our men's basketball program, which we were not willing to compromise amid the shifting landscape of intercollegiate athletics. It also allows us to develop new opportunities for student athletes in all 16 of our competitive athletic programs. Several of these programs capped off banner years this fall: women's soccer made another NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in its seventh trip to the NCAA tournament in eight years; women's volleyball won 27 games en route a second straight NCAA tournament appearance; and men's soccer rose to a national ranking of number two in its regular season, while also making an NCAA tournament appearance.
Over the past 15 months, the seven presidents and athletic directors of the universities previously named have been in a thoughtful dialogue to ensure we jointly solidify our vision and commitment to compete at the absolute highest levels of athletic excellence for many years to come. In the past few weeks, after the recent departures of Big East Conference members, our conversations became more urgent and gained momentum. Beyond the playing fields, this move offered a tremendous opportunity to deepen our alignment with mission-driven institutions concerned with the personal and academic growth of student athletes.
In addition to aligning our university with strong peer institutions, we also saw great value in retaining our presence in key geographic locations where we have a large representation of both Marquette alumni and current students. The six peer institutions have locations in Chicago, Washington, D.C., New England, New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia, which will provide an infrastructure needed to obtain the highest levels of success.
As we look ahead to a new future for Marquette University Athletics, we want to thank you for your continued and enthusiastic support.
Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
Vice President and Director of Athletics
Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid, that lady in Almost Famous once said. Let's hope that's the situation here.
Men's basketball is what TV networks are going to pay for. But there is an impact on Marquette's other team sports, and it appears that most of the impacts are positive.
Mark Blaudschun of AJerseyGuy.com reports that due to the start up procedures involved in starting a new conference, it may take until the fall of 2014, if not the fall of 2015.
Blaudschun reports that the key issue right now is dispersing the exit fees from the already departed schools to allow The Seven to use the money to get the administration of the new conference in place before games can begin to be played.
Blaudschun also reports that the next order of business after the exit fee money is negotiations regarding the Big East name moving with The Seven and their new partners. I don't think I want to see The Seven give up anything in order to acquire the Big East name. As far as I'm concerned, the Big East name is now radioactive and The Seven would be best served by moving forward under a new banner with no history attached to it.
I both love and hate this part of the news cycle.
On one side, everybody's doing their damnedest to get the best possible story, so we're getting lots of news about the ongoing saga of The Seven leaving the Big East to start a new conference.
On the other side, things are reported, then denied, then amended, then shot down, then clarified, then adjusted and on and on and on. The whole thing starts to make you wonder who you can trust for news and and start asking why people won't just keep their mouths shut until official announcements can be made.
Most notable in the department of telling everything possible is the information that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Michael Hunt got from someone in the general vicinity of the Marquette athletic department. Let's run it down, shall we?
Marquette's expectation regarding the TV money is backed up by reports by Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel. Various TV people told Thamel that the money could go as high as $2 million per school per year, with $3 million being a very optimistic point of view. Thamel went digging in the Big East bylaws and came out with a few interesting tidbits as well.
One final note from ESPN's updated story, relative to that last point from Pete Thamel: Part of the deal of leaving as a group with no exit fees is waiting for 27 months before leaving. However, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia were not held to that 27 month standard, so there's wiggle room on that issue to be decided by the lawyers. If leaving the Big East name behind buys The Seven their way out of the conference following this school year, I'm fine with that.
Did we miss anything floating around out there? Hit the comments section and be sure to link to where you got it from!
Well, that happened fast.
Last night, Marquette athletic director Larry Williams joined Steve "The Homer" True during 540 ESPN's Marquette Basketball Hour. With news leaking yesterday that the Big East Catholic 7 had met with Commissioner Mike Aresco in New York to air their concerns about the direction of the conference, the topic du jour, of course, was the ever-changing conference landscape.