Catholic 7 League To Start In 2014?

USA TODAY Sports

Per this ESPN story, the "Catholic 7" are in negotiations to begin play in 2014 instead of 2015 as had been previously reported:

The Big East and the "Catholic Seven" members are in negotiations to end the relationship between the two groups after one more season instead of two, as the Big East bylaws are currently written, a source told ESPN.com.

The seven schools -- Providence, Villanova, Seton Hall, Georgetown, St. John's, Marquette and DePaul -- announced in December that they would be leaving the Big East to form their own basketball-centric conference.

Under the current Big East bylaws, member schools that withdraw before the mandatory 27-month waiting period must pay a $10 million exit fee. If the schools wait for the full 27-month period, they'll owe the Big East nothing.

The source said that the presidents are focusing on how to separate the two groups while the athletic directors are concentrating on finding another member for the Big East.

Aresco said the remaining Big East schools all are large research schools, with similar goals, and have good working relationships.

"I do think as conferences consolidate, as they get bigger, I think they rethink what they are doing, and I think there will be a period of calm," he said. "It doesn't mean it's over."

Aresco also said the conference is getting close on a TV package that he said will add stability to the picture, but could not say when it might be finalized.

"We think we could end up doing a deal with multiple networks, we just don't know yet," he said.

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