Yesterday, notable Jersey Guy Mark Blaudschun posted a story on his site stating that the move for the seven Catholic schools currently in the Big East to begin their new conference this summer is gaining steam. Blaudschun got this quote from an unnamed source:
"Both sides have a feeling that it is time to move on to the future," said one Big East source. "Both 2013 and 2014 are being discussed, but it’s just a matter of how much the group of schools that are leaving are willing to pay (to leave early)."
It's been said repeatedly as the Big East slowly collapses: Everything is negotiable. Blaudschun closes his piece by saying that if The Seven can come to an agreement on how much they're willing to pay (or possibly just give up from the pool of Big East money), an announcement could be forthcoming "in the next several days."
Blaudschun's post is written completely on sources feeding him information. Meanwhile, Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune got both Marquette athletic director Larry Williams and DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto to go on the record on this topic. First Ponsetto:
"I'm hoping in a couple of weeks we'll have that (separation) piece done," DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto told the Tribune. "And then once that piece gets done, the next step is to determine the (start) date, and that would be part of the negotiation of whether it's 2014, or if it's 2015 or if there's a possibility if it could be 2013."
And then the always outspoken Williams:
"Every school is committed to making it happen, whether that's on a super-compressed timeline or a little bit less compressed timeline," Williams said. "Even if it starts next summer, there's still a lot of work to do. If it's going to happen this summer? There are going to be some real, real long days. But I think everybody is committed to doing it.
"It could still get done. We could still build it in that time frame. It's going to put some people in pretty uncomfortable positions. Markus Roeders, our (women's) soccer coach, is going to have to go out and find a couple of other non-conference games -- well, that's going to be kind of hard to do at this late date. It's going to get really uncomfortable in that really tight timeline, but I still think we can get it done."
I think it's clear from the quote from Williams that, at the very least, Marquette has already put a lot of thought into exactly what moves they're going to have to make if The Seven are able to withdraw from the Big East on July 1.
All we have left at this point is to wait to see when an official announcement is made.