Big East Dissolving: 7 Schools Reportedly Will Leave Conference

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 13, 2012

Over the last two years, the Big East Conference has been gutted as schools fled for new conferences. As a result of all the defections, the non-football members will leave the conference, according to a report from Gary Parrish of CBS Sports

The report also quotes a source as saying they aren't sure how this whole thing is going to happen, but, "It's time to separate." 

UPDATE: Saturday, December 15 at 2:40 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

The Big East is remaining optimistic after taking its latest blow. 

Commissioner Mike Arseco and the Big East presidents released the following statement via BigEast.org:

The basketball institutions have notified us that they plan to withdraw from the BIG EAST Conference.  The membership recognizes their contributions over the long distinguished history of the BIG EAST.  The 13 members of the Conference are confident and united regarding our collective future.  We have a strong Conference with respected national universities, and are working together to forge the future.  We have a variety of options, and are looking forward with great partnership, collegiality and optimism.

Both basketball and football programs have been leaving in droves, and the conference's future appears very bleak at this point. 

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, December 13 at 7:15 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

According to an ESPN report, seven schools have decided to vacate the Big East:

The seven Catholic schools in the Big East have agreed to leave the conference and are debating the process of departing the league, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, December 13 at 4:15 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

Mark Blaudschun of USA Today has more information on the departures to come. And folks, it's a whopper:

The seven Catholic, basketball members of the Big East Conference have decided to announce their departure from the league, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. The two spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the talks were supposed to remain confidential.

An announcement that Villanova, Marquette, St. John's, Seton Hall, Providence, Georgetown and DePaul plan to break away is not likely to happen until the schools decide how they want to proceed.

Blaudschun also notes that the seven schools have the two-thirds majority vote it would require to dissolve the league altogether. Stay tuned, folks—the madness is just beginning for the Big East.

---End of Update---

The rapid decline of the Big East has been remarkable to follow. The problems with the conference really started back when Miami and Virginia Tech decided to leave the conference for the ACC in 2003.

Earlier this year, Syracuse and Pittsburgh continued the disintegration of the Big East when they also decided to move to the ACC. Notre Dame was not far behind, moving all of its sports programs to the ACC with the exception of football, which will remain independent.

Despite having several football powers in recent years, including teams like Miami, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, the Big East was always known for being a basketball conference. Teams like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Georgetown, Connecticut and Villanova made it the envy of all college sports in that regard.

Just last year, the Big East sent nine teams into the NCAA tournament, including Syracuse as a No. 1 seed. There has been at least one team from the conference in the Final Four in each of the last four years, including 2011 champion Connecticut.

In 2009, three of the four No. 1 seeds (Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Louisville) all came out of the Big East.

It is sad to see what has happened to this once-proud conference over the last 12 months. 

Lead image courtesy of bigeast.org.


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