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‘Catholic 7′ taking the Big East name with it

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In December, seven Big East basketball schools – DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Villanova – announced they had voted to unanimously withdraw from the conference amid uncertainty over the future of the league in this day and age of realignment.

Those seven schools will be taking the Big East name with them when they start their new league next basketball season, according to a report from ESPN.com. Expected to join the new Big East will be Xavier and Butler from the Atlantic 10, per the report. The exact cost of keeping the Big East name isn’t known yet.

That means Big East football members will no longer be “Big East” football members, but the conference’s AQ status in the BCS and access to college football’s new playoff remains unchanged. Although it’s not clear yet what it will be called going forward, the former football side of the conference will apparently move in another direction from a branding standpoint. Frankly, it’s the only logical move.

The Big East used to be a respectable football conference — more than respectable, really — when Boston College, Miami, Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia and Virginia Tech were still members. But conference expansion and realignment has resulted in all of those programs, along with many others, heading to the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten.

Or, in the case of Boise State and San Diego State, staying in the Mountain West without every really joining.

The decline of the Big East can be attributed to a number of things, but there’s no doubt its very identit has always been basketball and no other major conference has faced the challenges of trying to manage two different groups like the Big East. Now that the Catholic 7 will move on with the Big East name, the former Big East football members have a good opportunity for a fresh start in rebranding its football league.

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13 Responses to “‘Catholic 7′ taking the Big East name with it”
  1. normtide says: Feb 28, 2013 7:33 PM

    Its probably a good thing for the football members. The name “Big East” had taken a football nosedive. Might as week start over from scratch.

  2. lbijake says: Feb 28, 2013 8:11 PM

    And we can finally stop calling them the ‘Catholic Seven”.

  3. irishking says: Feb 28, 2013 8:19 PM

    I agree. That’s offensive.

  4. floridacock says: Feb 28, 2013 8:41 PM

    They should soak the Catholic 7 for as much as possible. The cost of a break up

  5. wustlumdnj says: Feb 28, 2013 8:42 PM

    “The Big East used to be a respectable football conference”

    So, the current schools in the Big East, current CUSA, the Mountain West, Sun Belt – these are not respectable football conferences?

    The ‘newest’ BE will never been included in the talk of the most powerful or relevant conferences to the BCS/the post-BCS layout, but – taking a step back and looking at the big picture – at $20 million a year, it is still a multi-million dollar player in the middle of the highest level of one of the most popular sports in America.

    Regarding the choice of ~2003 (pre-the leaving of Miami, BC, and VT) as the point of it’s respectability, it should be noted that in 2007 a one loss Pat White/Steve Slaton-led WVU team was slated (no pun intended) for the BCS national championship game the last week of the season before being run over by LeSean McCoy in the last BE game of the year. The year before that, Brian Brohm’s 1-loss Cardinals probably would have landed in the national championship game, had they not been upset by Rutgers in the greatest win of that program’s history. Brohm was one of three outside Heisman hopefuls from the BE that year – Slaton finished 4th and Ray Rice finished 7th.

    I guess I’ve typed up a eulogy to the Big East, so I’ll state what remains and rest my case. Since 2003 it was not a conference made of large, powerful schools that drove media dollars – what really mattered over the last 10 years. If you take a look at the Sagarin conference ratings over the last ten years, you will be surprised to find at least one year where the BE was ranked #2 of all conferences, and many where they were 3 or 4 – not just in the top 6. This was possible because, despite the fact that the conference could not hold its weight with monetary clout, it was resilient on the field. With all due respect to those schools and programs, there was rarely a 2-10 equivalent of BC, Duke, Indiana. The conference played great top-to-bottom football and garnered some impressive scalps (USF stealing a night game victory in overtime walking off at a ranked auburn comes to mind, my favorite CFB game of all time).

    Anyway, RIP Big East. The little conference that could.

  6. dmvtransplant says: Feb 28, 2013 8:53 PM

    @ normtide

    Didn’t the Big East just win their last 2 BCS bowls, while the Big Ten just lost 3 in a row?

  7. normtide says: Feb 28, 2013 9:04 PM

    Dmv, I said the name, not the product. Perception has dropped, as much from the TV deal mishap and teams jumping ship as the level of play. But, to your point, both teams that won those bowls are leaving, so that doesn’t help.

  8. bat42boy says: Feb 28, 2013 9:32 PM

    Kudos to those basketball schools to leave and form their own basketball league and still to keep the Big East name which was more recognized for it’s basketball and less for football. Glad to see Butler joining the group. Should be really good for next year. Can’t wait to see them in action.

  9. thefiesty1 says: Feb 28, 2013 9:36 PM

    Without the Catholic basketball the Big Least simply doesn’t exist anymore. Could have told you so. Sure happy those USAConf teams joined a non-existence conference. How you like me now? SMU UH and those others. Ha!

  10. timh1955 says: Feb 28, 2013 11:22 PM

    Looks like the Catholics wouldn’t want the Big East name as it’s a worthless conference in football. It’s on the same level as the MWC which is also a worthless conference.

  11. raiderufan says: Mar 1, 2013 7:24 AM

    The Basketball fan in me is a little excited by the new Big East conference but as a U fan and a football fan in general it’s a little sad to see Big East football going away.

  12. pastabelly says: Mar 1, 2013 9:38 PM

    Kind of funny. UConn kept trying to leave the Big East, but could not. Now, the Big East left them.

  13. tigersgeaux says: Mar 2, 2013 7:22 PM

    pastabelly: That is indeed funny. I haven’t heard what UConn is saying about it.

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