The Atlantic 10 Conference is open to the possibility of absorbing the Big East’s seven basketball-centric schools if the schools vote to dissolve the longtime East Coast conference, Andy Katz of ESPN.com is reporting.
According to the report, the seven schools (St. John’s, Georgetown, Providence, Marquette, Seton Hall, Villanova, and DePaul) need a two-thirds vote to dissolve the Big East. They would appear to make up seven of the 10 members remaining in the league before the arrival of a handful of new members in July, but Katz’s report points out that Temple is voting as a full member though it has yet to compete in the league.
The Owls are part of the group of schools slated to join the conference in July and would not likely vote to dissolve.
The A-10 currently has 16 members, which will be reduced to 14 once Temple leaves for the Big East and Charlotte moves to the C-USA for the start of the 2013-14 season.
All of this happens within the framework of a continuing push by Big East commissioner Mike Aresco to craft a new media rights deal for his conference. The Big East is out of the exclusive bargaining window it once had with ESPN and is now on the open market.
The possibility of a basketball-centric conference is not a new one. In a piece written today, NBCSports.com discussed the stability and value of a conference that is similar to what Katz is reporting could be in the works.
If the seven Catholic schools move to the A-10, that would give the conference 21 members, but would create a collection of various media markets on the East Coast, extending to the South and out toward the Midwest.
It would not be worth the television dollars that football-driven contracts might pull in, but would include an assortment of programs that have been solid in the past and more recently, including Georgetown, Villanova, Butler, VCU, Marquette, and Saint Louis, among others.
The Atlantic 10 is still working out the details on a media rights deal that it signed earlier this year with NBC, ESPN, and CBS.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_