Report: ‘Catholic 7’ to split following current academic year, keep Big East name

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In the eyes of many this season is essentially the “last hurrah” for the Big East Conference, as television dollars brought about by the importance of college football and the goal of non-FBS schools to control their own destiny has led to a permanent shredding of the fabric that made the conference what it once was.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse will move to the ACC at the end of the current season, and based on reports those two won’t be the only schools leaving.

According to a report from Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com the “Catholic 7” and the artists formerly known as the Big East have come to an agreement on both a split and the rights to the Big East name. The seven schools will be the “Big East” following the current season.

The questions now are: when do Notre Dame, Louisville and Rutgers get to leave; and which schools will join the “new” Big East?

According to McMurphy’s report there’s a chance Notre Dame moves to the ACC in 2013. But what about Louisville and Rutgers, with the latter committed to join the Big Ten?

If unable to join the ACC in 2013-14, the Fighting Irish would consider spending one season in the Catholic 7 league before moving to the ACC in 2014, a source said.

It’s unknown if the ACC could still add Notre Dame in 2013-14. However, Louisville, which also is leaving the Big East for the ACC, must wait until 2014 because it would disrupt the ACC’s football divisions and schedules, a source said. Rutgers also would not leave the Big East for the Big Ten until 2014.

As for the “new” Big East, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reported on Thursday that the league may stop at nine teams, with Butler and Xavier the favorites to be approached for next season. According to ESPN the league would  look to add Creighton, Dayton and Saint Louis in 2014, moving to 12 members.

How many members will the Big East have? It’s a fluid situation at this point.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.