The question was asked before when West Virginia left the Big East for the Big 12. Then Pittsburgh and Syracuse bolted for the ACC. Then Notre Dame did the same. Then Rutgers to the Big Ten. Then Louisville joined its former Big East peers in the ACC, too.
Could the non-football schools in the Big East, those without an FBS football program, vote to leave the Big East, break off, and form their own conference centered around basketball?
According to multiple reports, those schools met with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco Sunday to discuss options. According to ESPN.com, no formal plan of action came out of the meeting. The Sporting News also pointed out that the idea of Catholic schools breaking away from the league is less feasible, considering the wave of exit fee cash that is about to crash ashore for remaining schools after so many departures.
But exit fees aside, could St. John’s, DePaul, Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, Marquette, and Seton Hall build a stable and lucrative conference with basketball at its center?
The landscape has changed drastically since the founding of the Big East, a conference that many of the above schools were integral in the creation of. Football has been the engine behind realignment because, despite the popularity of college hoops, the money still remains on the football side of things.
Because of that, any television deal the new conference would make (and that’s assuming the conference comes about at all) would likely be worth less than what the Big East is going to pull in with Aresco’s help.
If the schools were to break away, they would likely need some reinforcements, as many outlets have pointed out, with possible schools joining that could include Creighton, Dayton, Butler, Saint Louis, Xavier, George Mason, and Virginia Commonwealth.
Could it happen? Will it happen? We’ll see.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_