The Big East has reached an agreement with seven departing basketball members that will allow them to separate from the football schools and create their own conference on July 1.
Commissioner Mike Aresco told The Associated Press on Friday the seven Catholic schools that are leaving to form a basketball-centric conference will get the Big East name, along with the opportunity to play their league tournament in Madison Square Garden.
Aresco, who will remain commissioner of the football league, would not disclose the financial part of the settlement.
A person familiar with the negotiations told the AP earlier this week that the football schools will receive about $100 million from a $110 million stash the conference had built up over the last two and a half years through exit and entry fees as well as NCAA men’s basketball tournament funds.
“It’s been an arduous four months but we got to the right place,” Aresco said in a phone interview. “I think both conferences have good futures.”
Aresco said the football schools have not chosen a name for the new conference and there are no favorites yet. He also said they have not determined how that $100 million or so will be split among the members.
The person familiar with the negotiations said the bulk of the money will go to holdover members Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida.
The divorce agreement with the basketball members, and the football schools’ new TV deal with ESPN, still must be ratified by the school presidents. Aresco said that should come soon and without glitches.
Next up on the agenda for the football schools, Aresco said, is to find a 12th member and venues for future basketball tournaments.
Creighton University is speculated to be under consideration to join the new basketball league being formed by the seven universities that broke away from the Big East.
School officials remained mum earlier this week on their possible interest in leaving the Missouri Valley Conference.
“Our stance has been we're not commenting, and we're continuing that stance at this time,'' Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen said Monday. “I wish I could.''
ESPN has reported that Creighton has emerged as a favorite to join the seven current Big East Catholic schools, plus Butler and Xavier, in a new 10-team league starting next season. Other reports have suggested that the Catholic 7 schools have had trouble reaching consensus on the 10th team and may begin play next year with nine.
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