The seven Big East Conference schools that don’t play top-level college football will announce that they are leaving the league, the New York Post reported.
The presidents of DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova are holding a conference call with Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco and will probably announce the split this afternoon, the Post said, citing unidentified people.
John Paquette, a spokesman for the Providence, Rhode Island-based Big East, declined to comment on the report in an e-mail.
The conference, which was founded in 1979, is an automatic qualifier for college football’s lucrative Bowl Championship Series, but will lose that status when the sport moves to a new playoff format in 2014 because defections from the league have weakened its power. Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Syracuse, all current Big East members, have announced plans to move to other leagues.
That will leave the Big East, which has plans to add other members, as a “group of five” smaller conferences that won’t receive as much money from playoff payout as the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences, according to ESPN.
The seven Big East schools may vote to completely dissolve the league, ESPN reported. A two-thirds majority is needed to approve dissolution, according to the website, and the other three members of what is currently a 10-team league are Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida. Temple, which is a football-only member, can’t vote on dissolution, ESPN said, citing unidentified people.