Report: Catholic 7 Eye Big East Departure In Time For 2014-15 Hoops Season

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According to this report from ESPN's jolly Andy Katz, today's conference call among the Big East schools revealed that the Catholic 7 will leave and form their own league in the summer of 2014, which would mean the 2014-15 season would be the first played by the new league.

The Big East is hoping to resolve its divorce with the seven departing Catholic-based basketball schools within the next few weeks in time for a summer 2014 departure, according to a source who had detailed knowledge of Friday's conference call with the Big East.

The source said there seems to be a consensus that the seven will leave and form their own league for the fall of 2014, which is exactly what the seven want as well, according to a number of sources from the departing seven.

The source said the conference call didn't focus on expansion but rather on the exit of the seven as well as a new television contract. The Big East has a football contract for the fall of 2013 but nothing for men's basketball in 2013-14. ESPN has the right of first refusal but NBC Sports has been the most aggressive to secure the deal, according to the source.

The source said the remaining Big East schools expect a legal battle with the departing schools for the Big East name, which carries with it branding rights and national recognition.

The source said there was very little talk of expansion on Friday's call.

The departing seven -- Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, Marquette, DePaul and Villanova -- still must decide on a new commissioner, form a league and all its bylaws, location, championships, and compliance rules as well as the number of schools it will add. The departing seven are expected initially to target Butler and Xavier out of the Atlantic 10 to get to nine teams. The next question will be if the seven grow to 10 or 12 with candidates among Creighton, Dayton, Saint Louis, Richmond and VCU.

The remaining Big East schools in 2014-15 would consist of UConn, Cincinnati, South Florida, Memphis, Temple, SMU, Houston, Central Florida, Tulane and East Carolina for football, and then Navy in the fall of 2015.

Pitt and Syracuse are leaving the Big East for the ACC next season. Louisville and Notre Dame are expected to join in the fall of 2014 while Rutgers is heading to the Big Ten at the same time.

If the remaining Big East looks to expand again, the two schools mentioned the most by sources are UMass and Tulsa out of the A-10 and Conference USA, respectively.

Looks like Georgetown is going to have one more season of Big East glory to go, and hopefully we'll get that real casual road trip to Memphis.

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