We’re witnessing the Big Easts’ death throes. The proposed television deal is disintegrating. Schools are begging other leagues to take them. The conference will receive $75 million less per year than their current AQ equals under the new postseason. Now, the Big East’s basketball schools – Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and DePaul – are considering leaving to form a basketball-only conference.
Such a move is sensible and perhaps inevitable. The real question is why it took these schools this long to survey the landscape. The new TV deal would net these schools around $1 million each per year. Such a paltry amount would not be worth it for say Georgetown to sully its basketball brand by consorting with schools such as Tulane and SMU. The basketball schools may bring the name, the clambake and the Providence office with them.
This would expose the football Big East for what it is, a disparate assembly of schools tied together by nothing more than their mutual pursuit of television revenue. At this conference realignment rate, we may never see the four-time-zone monstrosity.
Here’s the projected Big East membership as it stands:
East: Cincinnati, UConn, Temple, South Florida, Central Florida, East Carolina, Navy
West: Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Tulane
Presuming the Big Ten, the SEC or both decide to expand to 16, the Big East dissolves quickly. Cincinnati and UConn become eager ACC replacements for their plucked teams. Maybe South Florida and Navy follow if four teams go. Boise State and San Diego State rejoin the Mountain West with BYU. That would leave: Temple, UCF, East Carolina, Houston, SMU, Memphis and Tulane. That conference adds three or five teams from Conference USA to form…Conference USA.
[Photos via Getty, Gifulmination]