The day has come.
After 15 months of limbo and departures, beginning with Pittsburgh and Syracuse, followed by West Virginia and TCU, then Notre Dame and Rutgers and finally Louisville, the seven non-football schools of the remaining Big East have decided to split from the football playing members, according to reports from Gary Parrish and the NY Post .
Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence and DePaul are expected to make a joint statement after a teleconference with Commissioner Mike Aresco this afternoon.
A source also revealed to Paint Touches that Marquette Athletic Director Larry Williams was active in starting up the original talks to split the non-football schools after the ACC nabbed Louisville. Williams made national headlines with his frank interview with 540 ESPN Milwaukee, where he expressed his displeasure at the lack of inclusion in admitting Tulane to the conference and added that all options were on the.
“I was not pleased that we issued an invitation to Tulane without any diligence to what effect that would have on our basketball product, the draw on our RPI and other such things. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to participate as a member of the conference in the deliberation that went into adding that. There might be well articulated and very deep reasons why you would do it otherwise. But dog-gone-it, I’m not concerned about that. I’m concerned about making sure that Marquette is in a position that it can take advantage of the great investment it’s made in being successful in basketball.”
The next move after the split is yet to be known, although Adam Zagoria has reported that Temple, a football-only member at the present time, does not have the power to stop the dissolution of the conference. Reports indicate that the new Big East would target three to five schools with strong basketball backgrounds, and that “Xavier, Dayton, Saint Louis, Creighton and Butler would be among the targets,” according to Parrish. SI’s Pete Thamel is also reporting that Gonzaga, VCU and George Mason are getting looks.
Although the exact number of teams may not match, this proposal, written by Jeff Wolf for the site back in September could end looking very close to the eventual new Big East.
What will happen with the remaining Big East schools (currently Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Temple and Boise State, San Diego State, Central Florida, East Carolina, Houston and SMU beginning in 2013) is also unknown, thought the New York Post the schools may return to their respective conferences.
One thing is certain, football will no longer drive the Big East bus.