Well, that was fast. After rumblings surfaced online in the past 24 hours, it now looks like the Catholic Seven will be moving up their departure to this July, according to a report from Mark Blaudschun at A Jersey Guy. Blaudschun says an announcement is expected in the next few days and that the Catholic schools will be taking the Big East name with them.
In exchange for leaving two years earlier than the scheduled departure date of July 2015, the Catholic 7, who will not attend the Atlanta meeting, would agree to take considerably less money from a reserve pool of conference money earned by the Big East from exit fees and NCAA basketball tournament shares which is reported to be in excess of 60 million dollars.
The financial details of this arrangement still must be worked out, but both sides appear ready to announce that the Catholic 7 group will leave in July and take the Big East name with them.
If there is a snag in their plans the Catholics would stick around through 2014, but Blaudschun's sources seem to think that is unlikely.
This, on balance, would appear to work out for UConn in the short run. Sure, they won't get another crack at Georgetown or Marquette next season, but they seem to be in line for a bigger payday, and with the upcoming TV contract squeeze getting that money is probably a priority. It shouldn't change what football was expecting for next year as Rutgers and Louisville will still be around, but it will leave whatever the New Big East is going to be called as a 10-team basketball league, which will be a very different look from the mammoth Big East. We'll have more as we hear it.