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Seven hoops schools officially breaking away from Big East

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And, just as officially, the remaining football members trudge off into the great unknown.

Following up on reports from earlier in the week, seven members of the Big East with non-FBS football programs — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova — announced Saturday that they have voted unanimously to withdraw from the conference.  The when is still to be determined, although it could happen as early as next season if an increased exit fee is negotiated.

While acknowledging the contributions the basketball schools made over the years, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco maintained a confident tone in his statement that the conference will be able to move forward.  Whether it’s a false confidence remains to be seen.

“The 13 members of the Conference are confident and united regarding our collective future,” the statement from the commissioner read. “We have a strong Conference with respected national universities, and are working together to forge the future.  We have a variety of options, and are looking forward with great partnership, collegiality and optimism.”

With the departures, the Big East will be left with 10 members in 2013; 12 in 2014; and 13 in 2015.

All-sports-wise in 2013, the Big East will consist of current members Cincinnati, Temple, UConn and USF along with incoming members Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF.  Tulane will join as an all-sports member in 2014.  Boise State and San Diego State are slated to join as football-only members in 2013, followed by East Carolina in 2014 and Navy in 2015.

Whether the Big East remains a viable football conference beyond 2013 will likely be directly tied to television revenue.  The conference is currently in the midst of negotiations with various networks on a new TV deal, with the hope heading in of a deal that would pay $100 million annually or more.  Even prior to the seven basketball schools leaving, however, that projection had dropped to between $50-$80 million a year depending on the report.  One report figured the hoops members departing would decrease the value of a new TV deal by 15-20 percent.

Thus, each school could be looking at (very roughly) a low end of $3 million annually to around $6-7 million.

Would those numbers, or anywhere in between, be enough to keep Boise State and San Diego State from fleeing back to the Mountain West?  Seeing as they’re only earning around $1.6 million, it would still likely be worth their while even on the low end.

There’s also the very real possibility that the likes of Cincinnati and UConn, which both made a push to replace Maryland in the ACC before the spot went to current Big East member Louisville, could continue to push for future membership in that conference or even the Big Ten.

Regardless, the future of the conference remains extremely tenuous and immensely fragile — no matter how much public confidence the commissioner displays.

UPDATED 3:51 p.m. ET: UConn released a statement from president from Susan Herbst in the wake of the members’ departure.

“The tragedy that took place in Newtown on Friday should be the focus of the thoughts of the people in Connecticut and all Husky fans this weekend.

“The University of Connecticut believes that the BIG EAST Conference will continue to be a strong and exciting conference that is comprised of highly-regarded national universities.

“We ask our fans to steer all passion and concern to Newtown, and we will honor those lost when we gather together as a university community for events this upcoming week.”

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29 Responses to “Seven hoops schools officially breaking away from Big East”
  1. pastabelly says: Dec 15, 2012 3:46 PM

    Those basketball schools are the “real Big East”.

  2. drummerhoff says: Dec 15, 2012 3:50 PM

    Congratulation Commissioner Swofford. We reap what we sow.

  3. deadeye says: Dec 15, 2012 4:03 PM

    I predict that DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova all end up in a newly formed ACC after FSU, GT, Clemson, Miami, VT, UVA, UNC, and NCST all exit the ACC.

    Of course they might choose to form a new basketball only conference patterned after the original Big East. But either way, the ACC is now the official low-man on the conference totem pole. The BIG10, SEC, and BIG12 all have their knives sharpened, let the carving begin!

  4. pdmjr says: Dec 15, 2012 4:26 PM

    Who cares about those schools, theyhave losusy football teams

  5. buckeyeluvn says: Dec 15, 2012 4:30 PM

    Id like to see Cincinnati in the B1G

  6. lbijake says: Dec 15, 2012 4:33 PM

    Cannot blame the Big East 7 for taking charge of tbeir own destiny. Add Butler, Xavier, Dayton, maybe even Gonzaga and St Marys out west and you have a kick assn basketball conference with a major conference RPI rating.

  7. ancientcougar says: Dec 15, 2012 5:12 PM

    The Big East should have just merged with the ACC and there would have been a whole bunch of time and money saved.

  8. charles130 says: Dec 15, 2012 5:23 PM

    Sorry Deadeye but Big12 is the one that’s in the worst position. Stuck at 10 with no real possibility for expansion. No reason for Clemson and Fsu to pay 50 mill for a couple more bucks a year and games in Lubbock and Ames. Big12 does not and never will command Big Ten type money for anyone not named Texas.

  9. thefiesty1 says: Dec 15, 2012 5:56 PM

    DONE! The Big LEast is history.

  10. yyyass says: Dec 15, 2012 6:27 PM

    And people thought the Terps were crazy for jumping to the BIG 10. Jokes on them. Brilliant move. Fear the Turtle!

  11. mcmuskie79 says: Dec 15, 2012 6:58 PM

    Ohio State will not allow Cincinnati to get an invite to the B1G.

  12. amosalanzostagg says: Dec 15, 2012 6:59 PM

    Charles, you are absolutely correct.

    FSU has already told Deloss Dodds that the Administration and Faculty DO not want to move to a conference that has poor academics.

    In the SEC world, Florida will block Miami and FSU, Georgia will block GT, South Carolina will block Clemson. The two Virginia schools and the two North Carolina schools are tied at the hip by their respective state legislatures. One set of those schools could go to the B1G and one to the SEC. It all depends on TV market dollars to the SEC.

    In the PAC12 world, they are looking at four schools, BYU, the Kansas schools and Iowa State. Don’t laugh, Iowa State puts the PAC12 into the Chicago and Upper Midwest TV market.

    I believe the ACC will survive particularly w the relationship with ND

    That gives the TV boys in NYC 4 strong super conferences that will eventually be 64 teams in an 8 team playoff for a National Championship in football, probably priced around $2 billion a year and would lead up to the Saturday before the Super Bowl.

    That leaves 9 slots available to fill out the 4 super conferences.

    1 in the ACC
    2 in the B1G
    2 in the SEC
    4 in the PAC12.

    That is what makes the Big 12 extremely vulnerable. Texas already has their money in the Longhorn Network. The rest of the Big 12 is tagging along on Texas coattails. Best scenario is that the two Virginia schools go to the SEC (TV market
    dollars), The two Carolina Schools go to the B1G. (TV market dollars) UConn to the ACC (TV market dollars). PAC12 takes the four schools mentioned above.

    Texas goes alone.

  13. amosalanzostagg says: Dec 15, 2012 7:02 PM

    Before you go bonkers, yes four slots open in the ACC
    Big East survivors and remnants of the Big 12 fight for the 4 slots with OU/OSU, Baylor and Tech getting the slots for TV market dollars for the ACC.

  14. txstatebobcats1868 says: Dec 15, 2012 7:41 PM

    No one is leaving the big 12 for the acc of pac 12 unless they want a huge pay cut

  15. eersneagles says: Dec 15, 2012 9:08 PM

    No one is leaving the Big 12. They don’t have a buy out, you have to forfeit your media rights to the conference for ten years instead. Nobody is going to do that.

  16. deadeye says: Dec 15, 2012 10:09 PM


    We’ll se how this all goes down.

    I don’t believe for one second that the ACC will get 50 million from Maryland or any other departing university. So that is not really a deterrent. Also, the BIG12 is far and away in a better position right now compared to the ACC. The television revenue is not even close, and the BIG12 has signed a 13 year GOR which appears to be more binding than the exit fee.

    You might be right that no ACC school wants to go to the BIG12 (I’m sure they don’t), but the fiscal reality is that the BIG12 will be around longer than the ACC as it’s currently composed.

  17. charles130 says: Dec 15, 2012 11:55 PM

    How can you believe the Big12 grant of rights will hold up but not the ACCs penalty? The Big12 penalty would amount to hundreds of millions.

    Current payouts are 20 million per school for the Big12 and 18 and change for the ACC once ND joins. Plus the ACC has the option of starting a network – a real possibility with ND in the fold and all of this basketball inventory.

    Swofford must keep up with the three revenue big dogs – PAC 12, big ten and Sec. He now has the footprint and content (think basketball and ND misc football shows etc) to launch a successful channel.

  18. amosalanzostagg says: Dec 16, 2012 12:27 AM

    2 billion dollars a year goes a long, long way to assuage leaving a conference, the 4 super conferences will have 2 representatives each in the football playoff
    systems. The four super conference champions will have a two game playoff with the national championship game played the Saturday before the Superbowl.

    Those not in a super conference will be on the outside looking in. Imagine 64 teams dividing $2 billion a year, you get the picture.

    TV dollars are driving this train, and the Big 12 has the NATIONAL perception of being a regional conference at best with very limited appeal nationally. Think th old Big Eight (with Texas replacing Nebraska) and eight other teams.TV executives like Texas, maybe Oklahoma, but the rest have very little to offer nationally. Oklahoma
    State? Stillwater? Kansas State? Manhattan, Kansas? Texas Tech? Lubbock?

    They are not attractive to national TV executives.

    The Big 12 GoR is great for the existing memberships. Prospective members view the
    GoR as an athletic suicide pill that would inhibit viable options for a University in the unstable, ever changing landscape of big time college football.

    Just ask the new members of the Big East if they have a viable future.

    As it stands now. the B1G, SEC,Pac12 and ACC are at the table. The only question is what the super conferences will actually look like.

  19. frug says: Dec 16, 2012 1:55 AM


    Few things:

    1. No one pays a full exit penalty unless they are also buying themselves out of a waiting period. The going rate is about 50% (which is what the Big XII schools paid). Maryland a particularly strong case since they voted against the $50 million exit fee and left a few months after it was pushed through.

    2. A GOR is more likely to stand up because there is nothing punitive about a GOR. Schools are free to leave the conference anytime they want without paying a penny. They just have to leave their TV rights with the conference.

    3. The ACC does not have the option to start a TV network. They signed over ALL their TV rights to ESPN. They literally have no FB or MBB games under their control.

    4. The difference in payout goes beyond just the current TV money. To begin with, Big XII schools keep their third rights, which ACC schools do not. Secondly, if the Big XII expands it would be able to resume a CCG which would be worth a least $1 million per school. Finally, the new playoff agreement will mean that the Big XII schools will be splitting an $80 million Sugar Bowl payout while the ACC schools will be splitting a $55 million Orange Bowl payout. That means $8 million a school for the Big XII and $3.9 million a school for the ACC.

    I’m not saying that any ACC school would leave for the Big XII, but try and get your facts right.

  20. charles130 says: Dec 16, 2012 10:33 AM

    1. Florida State might have an argument, but no other school does as they all voted for the increase. Adjusted for the new contract, the 50 million is a similar percentage of media rights fees as before.

    2. ACC does have the option of starting it’s own network

    There are also look-in windows every five years (which could go to arbitration) to re-evaluate the value of the contract.

    3. Tier 3 rights are calculted differently. Florida State made 7.2 million this year in Tier 3 rights. ACC forfeited Tier 3 broadcast rights, which for Big 12 teams includes ONE football game/year plus all the women’s soccer, field hockey, and diving meets one can possibly stand. Tell me what the Iowa State-Valpo or the West Virginia-Norfolk State football game will bring in? A broadcaster would be lucky to break even.

  21. deadeye says: Dec 16, 2012 10:43 AM

    “As it stands now. the B1G, SEC,Pac12 and ACC are at the table. The only question is what the super conferences will actually look like.”



    Sorry sir, the ACC is not at the table. Currently the BIG10 and PAC share the Rose Bowl. The SEC and BIG12 created their new “Champions Bowl”, and later decided it would reside in the Sugar Bowl. The Rose and Sugar are both under contract with ABC for 80 million per game. Those two are far and away the highest paid bowls, and ABC is paying that 80 million under the notion that those two games will be semi-final playoff games that will eventually feed the NC game.

    The ACC by comparison is tied into the Orange Bowl for a total payout of 45 million. There is no bowl partner sending their champion to the Orange. They’ll be playing a second or third place team from another conference. Think about that, it clearly does not put the ACC on equal footing with BIG10, PAC, SEC, or BIG12.

    As far as the exit fee goes, both Maryland and FSU voted against it. You’re not going to see a university be compelled to pay an exit fee that they never agreed to in the first place. UMd will be held to the previous amount of 20 million which they agreed upon. Furthermore, exit fees are legally required to represent damages from a breach of contract. Thus if the ACC wants 50 million, they are legally bound to prove that there was 50 million in damages. Sorry, but that ain’t happening, especially when the replacement university was added only weeks later (Louisville). Expect the real number to be closer to 20 million, if that much.

    Exit fees that extend beyond actual damages are punitive, meaning their purpose is to keep members in the conference through the exorbitant fee by financially punishing them for leaving. Punitive exit fees are illegal. Maryland and FSU officials questioned the legality of the 50 million the day the vote was taken. The ACC will be hard pressed to legally prove how exit damages went from 7 million to 50 million in just over one year.

  22. thegamecocker says: Dec 16, 2012 12:09 PM


    Everything that goes around, comes around and that is directed to John Swofford and his “posse”: Coach K and Roy Williams. The ACC is NOT in the same category as the B1G, SEC, PAC, or Big 12. The ACC is now vulnerable and the football centric schools will be closely watching the outcome of the Maryland case. And I definitely agree with deadeye the final figure will be no more than $20 million, if that much. The ACC has always been and will always be a basketball centric conference because that is the perception and perception is reality! Hope ND enjoys beating up Wake Forest, Duke, UVa, Miami, etc. One last thing: Charles said the ACC football, particularly FSU, would not move to the Big 12 because they are not strong academically. U. of Texas is a great school as is Oklahoma, Iowa St., Kansas,….let’s not be pretentious.

  23. amosalanzostagg says: Dec 16, 2012 1:12 PM


    I said FSU declined to join the Big 12 on academics, not Charles

    You forget ND is now part of the ACC. ND swings a VERY big stick. The ACC IS @ the table. The Big 12 may not like it, But the B1G, the PAC, the SEC, and the ACC are at the table.

    Answer this, what quality big name programs would be willing to subordinate their TV rights to join the Big 12?…….That’s right, zero, zip, nada.

    Now name six quality big time football programs with a major TV footprint that are attractive to a regional conference that the Big 12 is?

    That’s right, zero, zip, nada.

    BYU and ND have told Deloss, nope.

    The B1g 10, the ACC and PAC12 all told Texas nope to join their respective conferences.

    You have U of H, SMU, Cincinnati, and a ton of mid majors clamoring to join a BCS.
    conference. Is that what the Big 12 wants? Two dominate programs and a ton of schools with
    no draw outside their alumni base?

    As to FSU and academics, The AAU ( American Association of Universities) is the bench mark of Academic excellence. The Big 12 has only three schools as members. Texas, Kansas and Iowa State. All of the B1G, less a former AAU member, Nebraska, are members. The SEC has Florida, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, and Missouri as AAU members. The ACC has Virginia,Duke and UNC. FSU has it’s application pending. Academics and ACademic research dollars are very important to universities.

    Bowl contracts are only has good as the conference relationships. The B1G and PAC12 have
    a history, they will be fine. Everything else is on the table.

  24. deadeye says: Dec 16, 2012 1:28 PM

    We’ll have to agree to disagree.

    No conference goes to 14 to stay at 14. Both the SEC and B1G will be going to 16 soon.

    This conference realignment stuff is all about money, and the ACC is locked into a poor television contract that puts them far behind the PAC, B1G, SEC, and BIG12.

    The addition of Notre Dame as a partial member does not help the ACC. If it did, why did Maryland leave? The Big East didn’t benefit from ND partial membership either.

    We’ll find out over the next few months how this will all shake out.

  25. sssjim7 says: Dec 16, 2012 2:28 PM

    I think you are all nuts…

    I read an interesting article about the US being in a recession and a lot of people dropping cable packages and electing to have basic internet and netflix now… over 2 million less cable users this year than next.

    I am also sick of paying over $150 a month for my cable/internet bundle… $8.99 netflix on top of basic cable for under $40 a month is looking real good.

    Was anyone else surprised to learn that when the 7 Catholic schools decided to leave that they still have money owed to them (units?) from past basketball tournaments? WTF? Why weren’t these paid out immediately after the tournament? Maybe all the TV networks are counting on money they project, and do not actually even have at this time?

    It will be interesting to see if the trend away from expensive cable packages continues. If it does, pretty soon ESPN will be broke and not be able to pay all these contracts. The schools will sue them, but there won’t be anything to grab. They will have tried to upgrade their facilities, coaches, etc. and suddenly find they have no money to pay for it all…

    I believe the B1G is going to lose its’ @ss on that cable deal… people are tired of paying for cable packages. Any other conferences that try the same thing will also be in trouble…

    Just my .02

  26. sssjim7 says: Dec 16, 2012 2:31 PM

    Oh, yeah… I forgot one more thing… the ACC needs to contact the MWC and arrange a deal for their champion to play the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl…

    That will get us 3 of the 4 playoff teams (orange, rose, sugar)… and the selection committee can hagle over the 4th participant…

    Another .02 worth…

  27. deadeye says: Dec 16, 2012 3:16 PM


    You are correct to point out that the cable revenue model is becoming harder to make work. But the point in conference realignment is to find the most profitable conference relative to the other ones.

    So if that model goes belly-up, it goes belly-up for everyone. People are still going to pay more (regardless of the medium) for conference play that is compelling and has big-time universities. The ACC is stuck in a basketball first mentality that is causing it’s football to suffer. The football schools are not gonna stick around for that.

  28. frug says: Dec 16, 2012 7:14 PM


    1. Even if schools voted for it they still wouldn’t necessarily be bound by the exit penalty. Texas A&M and Mizzou both voted in favor of the Big XII’s “historic” exit fees and both ended up paying about 50%, despite announcing their departures less than a year after the vote.

    The fact is, exit fees (liquidated damage clauses in legalize) aren’t enforceable if they are determined to be “punitive”.

    2. Go back and read the article because Swofford never once says the league could actually start a conference network. If anything, he implies they can’t.

    3. Under the Big XII deal it is 1 FB game and 6-8 MBB games with the ability to purchase additional FB and MBB games from the conference, plus non-revenue stuff. Schools can make quite a bit of money with those games via PPV.

    As for look in clauses… those are pretty much worthless. C-USA’s look in clause was leaked on the internet and it basically boiled down to “market value” for the purposes of the look in, being whatever ESPN said market value was.

    If you need further proof look at what happened when the ACC renegotiated their deal after expanding (which was a similar process to a look in). The ACC got very little new money and the new money was mostly backloaded (with a huge portion coming in form of a lump sum payment in the final year of the deal). Moreover, in order to get the new money they had to give ESPN even more media rights (including sponsorship rights to the CCG and MBB tournament) and, even worse, they had to tack on 4 years to the end of the deal undercutting the only real advantage of their previous deal (the fact that at 12 years it was relatively short).

  29. pedagoguish says: Dec 16, 2012 9:40 PM

    Boise State is the only legitimate football school left in the conference.

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