The Catholic 7—the seven schools in the Big East that plan to break off and form their own conference—have planned to add two more universities, and keep the Big East name, according to ESPN.
Butler University and Xavier University will be the eighth and ninth teams added to the conference, and it is rumored that Creighton University could be the tenth.
St. John’s, combined with DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, and Villanova, make up the Catholic 7. The schools decided to stick together after many other esteemed universities decided to leave the Big East for other conferences.
Georgetown men’s basketball coach John Thompson III is looking forward to the conference’s contraction.
“I’ve said from the beginning, the sooner the better,” Thompson told reporters on Friday. “That’s best for every and all parties in our situation. In other conferences, if you know there’s going to be a change, the sooner the better.”
The Catholic 7 share in common that they are non-football schools; avoiding the sway that football revenue has
had on conference realignment for other universities.
Notre Dame announced in September that the University will be taking all of its non-football sports to the ACC, but it is unclear when that will be. Notre Dame’s athletic director Jack Swarbrick sees the Catholic 7’s new conference as a feasible option as a holdover for the Fighting Irish before they join the ACC.
“If the Catholic 7 is leaving and forming its own conference for next year, they could certainly call us to want to explore our options,” Swarbrick told reporters on Friday. “And if they were interested in accommodating us, it would certainly be a viable option. We have a lot of respect for those schools and know them well.”
The Big East inked a deal for media rights with ESPN, according to ESPN. The deal is worth $130 million over
the next seven seasons, significantly less than a deal offered to the conference two years ago.
“ESPN has matched the third-party offer that the Big East Conference received, and, subject to Big East board approval, ESPN and the Big East will continue, for years to come, their long-term relationship, which began in 1980,” commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement.