Two week’s after the Big East’s back-breaking addition of Tulane as an all-sports conference member, the seven Catholic basketball only schools remaining in the former hoops power may have had enough.
Earlier today ESPN’s Andy Katz reported Marquette, DePaul, St. John’s, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall and Villanova met with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco to express concerns with the direction of the conference.
“The basketball schools are not thrilled with Tulane and what they will do to the league’s RPI,” a league source from a football-playing member told ESPN. “They were not all that excited with that addition.”
The source added that “the basketball schools would have fallen off the ledge if we would have added East Carolina as a full member and what that would have done to the basketball league.”
It’s still a big if whether or not the basketball schools would, and perhaps more importantly could afford to split from the Big East conference that would own the rights the schools earned NCAA payouts.
Several A-10 schools have been mentioned as possible candidates to join the C7 in forming a new hoops conference, but today Katz later reported the A-10 has expressed an interest in adding all seven of the schools, forming a 21-team basketball super conference that could leverage it’s new members and media markets into a more lucrative television deal after having recently signed a new rights deal with NBC, CBS and ESPN. The A-10 has yet to finish all of its rights fees, and has room to increase its digital platform.
ESPN reports that the A-10 has been monitoring the Big East situation and have been figuring out how a 21-team conference would work.
One idea is to have an expanded 20-game conference schedule where all teams play each other once per season.
The current Atlantic 10 plays a 16-game conference schedule with teams facing each other once per season with geographic rival home-and-away partners (for example: VCU and Richmond, Xavier and Dayton, etc) playing twice.
In an era of conference realignment and rumored “super conferences”, the A-10 would strike an unlikely first blow becoming the first league to reach 20+ and doing so in a basketball-centered league.