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Catholic 7 Leaving The Big East A Year Ahead Of Schedule


As first reported by ESPN's Brett McMurphy, the so-called "Catholic 7" - Seton Hall, Providence, Marquette, St. John's, Georgetown, Villanova and DePaul - now plan on leaving immediately to start their own league for next season, and they're taking the Big East name with them.

The move makes it likely that the ACC will add Notre Dame a year ahead of schedule.

Does it make it likely that the league will also take U of L in the fall of 2013? Unfortunately not, because the Cards play football and would make the conference's divisions uneven. Basically, the lone piece of news that can get U of L into the ACC for 2013-14 remains Maryland going to the Big Ten a year early.

As it stands, Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida remain the only holdovers not committed to either the new "Big East" or another conference.

The loss of the Catholic 7 schools also will impact the value of the media-rights deal with ESPN, a source said.

Last week, ESPN retained the Big East's media-rights deal by matching an offer from NBC Sports Network. The Big East's deal is worth $130 million for seven years, including $10 million for the 2013-14 basketball season, sources said.

However, if the Catholic 7 schools are not in the Big East in 2013-14, that $10 million amount would be reduced. The remainder of the deal -- $20 million annually from 2014-2020 -- was not dependent on the Catholic 7's membership and would not change, sources said.

The Big East's presidents still must vote and approve on the media-rights deal. The Big East's presidents and athletic directors meet Friday beginning at 11 a.m. in Atlanta.

It remains unknown which league -- the Catholic 7 or the remaining Big East schools -- would hold its basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden.

Regardless of where the name winds up, the Big East is dead. No more talk of the conference "being on life support" or "being a shade of its former self"; it's dead.

March 11-15 inside Madison Square Garden just got a little more special.

Finally, let's just go ahead and address what we're all thinking about: It appears as though Wednesday night was the last DePaul Day for at least the foreseeable future, and possibly ever. Although I'm not sure we could have gone out on higher note, I still...I just...Maxwell, sing what I feel.

All the things we should have given, but I didn't...