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Big East basketball-only schools close to leaving conference, reports say


John Thompson III and the Georgetown Hoyas are still part of the Big East. (Richard Lipski / AP)

The Big East’s seven non-Football Bowl Subdivision schools are expected to announce their future in the conference soon and, according to ESPN, it “would be an upset” if the seven Catholic schools chose to remain in the 33-year-old conference.

The New York Post reports that the presidents of Georgetown, DePaul, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova will hold a teleconference with Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco today and are expected to issue a statement afterward “saying that [they] are parting ways.” ESPN gave the time frame as 24-to-48 hours.

Sources told ESPN on Wednesday it was becoming “more likely” that the basketball schools would break away, although it was unknown whether they would try to dissolve the league. The seven presidents met Sunday with Aresco, according to an ESPN source, to “better understand the best course of action for the future.”

Sources told ESPN the seven schools discussed a number of options but most importantly wanted to have “lots of dialogue to better understand the best course of action for the future.”

With college conferences undergoing tremendous upheaval, perhaps there’ll be a new version of the Big East.

The brainchild of Dave Gavitt, the Big East was founded in 1979 and quickly became a national college powerhouse. In 1985, it sent three teams (Georgetown, Villanova and St. John’s) to the Final Four, with Rollie Massimino’s Villanova team winning the title.

Gavitt, as his September 2011 New York Times obituary noted, “envisioned a time when major basketball colleges in the East would draw on big-city television and marketing opportunities to create a high-profile league, bringing enhanced revenue and the recruitment of star high school players.”

Maybe history will repeat itself.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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