Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 11:22 am
Sources: Big East near settlement, Creighton in picture

Creighton's athletic future remained in limbo Tuesday as negotiations continued that will allow the so-called Catholic 7 to break away from the Big East football schools.

The Associated Press, citing a source familiar with the negotiations, reported that a deal could be finalized by the end of the week and would allow the football schools to get almost all of a $110 million pot.

In exchange, the seven Catholic schools would keep the name Big East and start playing in their own conference next season, the source said. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the separation agreement has not been finalized.

Creighton has been mentioned as a possible member of the new conference. ESPN reported Tuesday that the seven Catholic schools — Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, Seton Hall, Providence, Marquette and DePaul — are expected to add at least two more members and begin play next season.

The report then went on to say Butler, Xavier and Creighton will join the league, according to sources. The AP report also said the league expects to add at least two members, but did not name the schools.

An ESPN report Wednesday cited sources saying the ACC would allow Notre Dame to join this summer – one year earlier than expected. Notre Dame was expected to remain in the Big East through next season as long as the league's Catholic schools remained.

In a related development Tuesday, Fox Sports announced that its Fox Sports 1 cable channel would launch Aug. 17. Fox is negotiating for the broadcast rights to the new conference.

Originally, the seven basketball schools breaking away from the Big East sought a bigger share of funds built through exit fees, entry fees and money earned by league schools in the NCAA tournament.

Instead, the AP's source said the seven schools will settle for $10 million, keep the Big East name and continue to play its conference tournament at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Most of the remaining $100 million would go to Connecticut, South Florida and Cincinnati. They will join Temple, Memphis, Central Florida, SMU and Houston in the yet-unnamed football conference in 2013. East Carolina and Tulane are set to join in 2014, with Navy scheduled to join for football in 2015.



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