In a quick and decisive move, the seven basketball only schools in the Big East conference voted unanimously to leave the fractured conference. According to ESPN on Dec. 15, the schools are expected to leave the Big East after the 2014-15 season.
The university’s leaving the conference are DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova. The universities first made public their debate on whether to stay or leave on Dec. 11.
Much of the reason the schools chose to leave the once great basketball conference was because many of the teams that helped showcase the strength of the Big East already left, many to the ACC. Boston College, Miami, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Louisville and Notre Dame all left the conference since 2004.
One of the only quality basketball schools remaining, Connecticut, refused to discuss the decision, stating their focus was on supporting the victims of the elementary school shooting that took place in their state on Dec. 14.
The schools that are leaving believe they are doing what is best for their basketball programs.
“The institutions that have been committed to men’s basketball have made a decision that they are going to continue to stay committed to men’s basketball,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said.
It is unclear whether they will fight to take control of the Big East name, and try to legally strip it from the remaining schools. Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Providence were original Big East schools in 1979 and Villanova joined in 1980. The conference never introduced football until 1991. If they want to take the conference name with them, they might be in for a fight.
“The membership recognizes their contributions over the long distinguished history of the Big East,” Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “The 13 members of the conference are confident and united regarding our collective future.”
The seven schools are also looking at forming a powerful basketball conference with other schools that might want to join forces with them. Names on this list include universities like Xavier, Dayton, Creighton and Gonzaga.
“I don’t blame them,” Cincinnati head basketball coach Mick Cronin said. “My take is it’s a shame that football, one sport, has dictated all this. The money that one sport is swinging around is swaying universities to make decisions. Don’t tell me that people care about student-athletes.”
The teams remaining in the Big East include Connecticut, Temple, Cincinnati, South Florida, Houston, SMU, Central Florida, Memphis, Boise State, San Diego State, Old Dominion, Tulane, East Carolina and Navy.
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