Reports: Catholic 7 to retain Big East name, add Butler and Xavier

Basketball Is Our Religion. - Georgetown Stonewalls

ESPN.com is reporting that the Catholic 7, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova, are expected to start their new conference for the 2013-14 season and retain the Big East name. Reports also indicate that Xavier and Butler will join the Big East "2.0" while Creighton is a strong candidate for the 10th spot. Dayton and St. Louis are front-runners to join the the "new" Big East in 2014-15 to form a 12-team league.

ESPN anticipates that a formal announcement on the Big East will be made this coming Tuesday by Fox Sports Network. FSN is also expected to announce the addition of two new TV channels: Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. The number being floated around for the "new" Big East's deal with Fox Sports is at least $3 million annually per school.

If all goes as planned, Notre Dame will attempt to join the ACC for next season. If they can't join early, they Irish will look to join the Catholic 7 for the 2013-14 season before slipping out the back door for the ACC.

The new league also expects to play 18 conference games during its first season. That would mean playing each team twice (home & away) if the conference has ten schools.

What this means for Seton Hall: Pirate fans should be jumping for joy. The breakup of the Big East has gone as well as it possibly could for a school with zero leverage and no recent success. Not only has the conference stabilized itself by shedding football schools, it has retained the Big East name and doubled the annual revenue of the basketball-only schools. With the current Big East TV contract, each basketball-only school receives $1.5 million per year and each football school gets $3.12 million.

The Big East may not challenge for the top conference in the country for a few seasons but it has set itself up for internal growth. Doubled TV revenue along with the potential for new exposure on the Fox Sports Network is promising. A conference that can now focus on basketball will have the opportunity to create an even more powerful Big East brand if the schools behind the name can do their part.

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