ESPN: The seven schools leaving the Big East — Marquette, Villanova, DePaul, Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Providence — are essentially creating a startup business.
They would have to establish an office, hire a staff, pick a leader, negotiate a television contract, run championships for all sports (not just men’s and women’s basketball) and decide the number of schools that will be in the conference. Is it 10 or is it 12 or more? And of course they may have to fight over existing funds in the Big East, let alone the brand name and the rights to the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Or they could just be absorbed by the A-10 to form a mega 21-school conference.
Multiple sources from within the seven schools say there is no chance this occurs. But the Atlantic 10 office is banking on presidents like Graham to at least give it a shot.
If not, then Xavier, Butler and possibly Dayton, VCU and/or Saint Louis are ripe to be plucked by the seven, rendering the A-10 to a lower level and behind the ascending new league in this scenario.
“If it doesn’t happen,” Graham said, “then we’ll wait and see what happens after that.”
Xavier and Butler would be the most coveted schools by both conferences.
Butler, like Xavier, has made it clear in statements by its administration that it will look for the best possible situation for its school. Earlier in the week, president James Danko said in a statement, “I greatly respect — and agree with — the collective conviction of the Catholic Seven to control their own destiny or someone else will. Butler, too, has controlled its destiny proactively, for example, when it made the decision to join the outstanding Atlantic 10 Conference and through its values-based approach to athletics.”
Xavier and Butler will have a decision to make, but they are in a great position. They are wanted by both sides, something most non-FBS schools can’t say in this current climate.
I know I posted about this topic before but it is the most talked about subject in college basketball off the court this year.
Truthfully, not much as changed. The same schools from the A-10 are still rumored to be leaving to join the “Catholic 7” and nobody is confirming anything or making any moves.
What has changed is the stance of two A-10 schools: Xavier and Butler. I originally thought Xavier was as good as gone as soon as these 7 schools split from the Big East. Reading into the statements made by Xavier’s president, it seems like Xavier is just as likely to stay in the A-10 as they are of leaving. I’m not sure if the meetings/conference calls by the A-10 school presidents changed Xavier’s minds a little bit but I’m glad to see they are doing what they can to stay in the A-10.
Butler, on the other hand, seems to be moving closer to the door and making statements such as “I greatly respect — and agree with — the collective conviction of the Catholic Seven to control their own destiny or someone else will. Butler, too, has controlled its destiny proactively, for example, when it made the decision to join the outstanding Atlantic 10 Conference and through its values-based approach to athletics.” This statement makes me think that Butler is leaning towards leaving the A-10 before they even play their first conference game. Butler’s comment about supporting the Catholic 7’s move and comparing those schools to Butler is worrisome for fans of A-10 schools who enjoyed seeing the A-10 get stronger. Butler is saying that they are not so different from the Catholic 7 schools and that Butler thinks they would be a good fit with those schools.
It would set the A-10 back quite a bit if Xavier, Butler, VCU, and Dayton leave. It would be a travesty for just one of those teams to leave. The A-10 has worked incredibly hard to fight off the moniker of “mid-major” and not getting much respect from the CBB world. They have added VCU and Butler which I think helped launch the A-10 into the land of high major conferences (or power conferences, if you prefer).