As they have since December, Creighton officials declined to comment Thursday about the university's possible involvement with a new basketball league being formed by the seven Catholic schools departing the Big East.
Multiple media sources reported Thursday that the new league expects to begin play next season while retaining the Big East name, with Butler and Xavier joining the seven. ESPN.com reported that Creighton has emerged as the favorite to become the 10th team and would also join next season.
CBSSports.com reported that the seven schools have had difficulty arriving at a consensus on additional teams and would begin next season with nine teams.
Creighton, St. Louis, Dayton, Virginia Commonwealth and Richmond were being considered if the league expands to 10 to 12 teams, CBSSports.com reported.
Through a spokesman, the Rev. Timothy Lannon, Creighton's president, said the university would have no comment on the reports. Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen told The World-Herald that he also could not comment.
Creighton basketball coach Greg McDermott, preparing his team for a Saturday showdown with Wichita State to decide the Missouri Valley title, said he has heard nothing concerning Creighton's involvement with the new league.
According to multiple reports, the seven schools — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova — that announced their intention in December to break away from the Big East had reached a consensus to add Butler and Xavier, both members of the Atlantic 10.
The Catholic 7's exit from the Big East, ESPN reported, is being expedited by Fox Sports Network. The network initially contacted the seven schools and laid the groundwork for them to leave the Big East with the promise of a lucrative media-rights deal, a source told ESPN.
Fox Sports is expected to announce the addition of the Catholic 7-Big East basketball league Tuesday in New York as part of the network's announcement of the addition of the Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 channels.
The deal with the Catholic 7 is expected to be worth at least $3 million annually per school. It is unknown how much it will cost the Catholic 7 to keep the Big East name.
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The Big East presidents and athletic directors — minus the contingent from the Catholic 7 —will meet Friday in Atlanta, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com. The group will discuss numerous issues, including a financial settlement in which the Catholic 7 would take the Big East name.
They will also discuss the departure date for the seven teams, as well as how much money they will take with them from the league's reserve fund — which includes tournament shares and exit-fee money.
“Both sides want something done,” a source told CBSSports.com. “Nobody wants this to string out, but it's a fluid situation and it'll depend on what's decided on Friday.”
The departure of the Catholic 7 schools, which would officially begin their new league on July 1, also could mean Notre Dame joins the Atlantic Coast Conference this summer instead of 2014.
Sources told ESPN.com that Notre Dame has planned on remaining in the Big East for the 2013-14 academic year as long as the Catholic 7 schools did so. However, if those schools left before then, the Fighting Irish would also look to join the ACC this summer.
If unable to join the ACC in 2013-14, the Fighting Irish would consider spending one season in the Catholic 7 league before moving to the ACC in 2014, a source told ESPN.com.
It remains unknown which league — the Catholic 7 or the remaining Big East schools — would hold its basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden.
Once the Catholic 7 split is official, the new league will use a search firm to find a commissioner.
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