ESPN is reporting that the former Big East Conference will take on the name “American Athletic Conference,” after the departed Catholic 7 took the Big East name with them earlier this year. The name change is expected to be announced on Thursday.
Among possible name changes was “American 12 Conference” but the idea was rejected because the conference didn’t want to be tied to a number. Shocking, the conference known for the most realignment over the past three years doesn’t want a long-term commitment.
The Big East was forced to find a new home after the aforementioned Catholic 7 — Georgetown, DePaul, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Marquette and Villanova — announced separation from the conference. The conference will now include the Catholic 7, as well as Butler, Creighton and Xavier.
The American Athletic Conference joins a class of patriotic conferences with similar names. The American East, Mid-American and Conference USA all resemble each other in name. Nine of the American Athletic Conference teams will come from C-USA.
In 2013, the makeup of the Big East will be Louisville, Central Florida, Temple, Houston, Rutgers, Memphis, Southern Methodist, Connecticut, South Florida and Cincinnati. Louisville and Rutgers are likely to leave after 2013 with Tulane, Tulsa and East Carolina joining in 2014. In 2015, the conference will break up into two, six-team divisions.
It’s nice to finally know how the future of the Big East Conference, and those left behind by the Big East Conference, will look like over the next few years. That is, until the Big East and old Big East get tired of the change and merge into a 24-team super conference.
John Engel is a Pac-12 college basketball writer for Rant Sports and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.