The Big East might collapse Thursday, with seven basketball schools reportedly planning to announce their departure or the dissolution of the conference within the near future.
The Big East seems on the verge of implosion, with a rift between the needs of the football conference and the seven full members without football teams essentially dooming the conference.
The seven Catholic, non-football playing members of the Big East - DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, and Villanova - have apparently reached an agreement on their future, and ESPN reports that it's one that doesn't include the Big East. They plan to either leave or dissolve the conference, and will talk to Big East commissioner Mike Aresco Thursday before making their future public in the next few days.
The schools constitute a two-thirds majority of the members of the conference as is, and as such can vote to dissolve the league if they so choose. If they leave, a source indicated to ESPN that the conference's media rights would drop by about 20 percent, potentially warding off some of the schools slated to join the conference.
With conference realignment primarily focused around football, the Big East has struggled to stay afloat. Only three of the teams that played football in this year's already depleted eight-team football league intend on remaining in the Big East. To stay viable, they've brought in a variety of new schools either as full conference members or football-only members. But those new schools have reportedly displeased some of the basketball members of the conference for a variety of reasons. Not only are they not located around the historical Northeast center of the conference, most of them place little or no stake in their basketball programs, diluting the prestige of a conference once known for being one of the nation's best at basketball.