Several media outlets began reporting the news of the most recent exodus of conference realignment on Thursday morning, once again involving the Big East Conference.
After rumors had surfaced earlier in the week that seven, current Big East members were unhappy with the plans and future of the conference, a developing situation appears imminent and its one that could severely cripple basketball in the league.
Among those who are expected to announce their split from the conference include Marquette, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence, Georgetown, and DePaul. According to a report from CBSSports‘ Gary Parrish, the seven non-football conference members are expected to announce their decision soon and barring anything unexpected, they will leave the conference as one.
Fellow Big East rivals Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida may all face the most difficult path moving forward if this expected news plays out accordingly. The three aforementioned schools would seemingly go from a BCS-connected league to one whose future looks particularly bleak.
From a basketball perspective, the sole purpose of the seven Catholic schools and their ultimate decision play into a role in which they do not want to be hurt by league RPI and other factors that could play out if they remained conference members. With the losses, the impact would run even deeper from Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida, who according to various reports will be fighting to keep the seven members on board.
Yet at this time, it appears their chances of keeping the Catholic schools on board in the Big East is all but over.
With a formal announcement expected soon, more details are sure to arise in the coming days. As of now, Big East basketball fans should immediately do one thing: buy tickets to this year’s conference tournament because it could be the last, true excitement at Madison Square Garden as we know it.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS