NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The Big East has reached an agreement with seven departing basketball members that will allow them to separate from the football schools and create their own conference on July 1.
Commissioner Mike Aresco told The Associated Press on Friday the seven Catholic schools that are leaving to form a basketball-centric conference will get the Big East name, along with the opportunity to play their league tournament in Madison Square Garden.
Aresco, who will remain commissioner of the football league, would not disclose the financial part of the settlement.
In a statement, Aresco said the sides “worked through a number of complex issues in an orderly, comprehensive and amicable manner marked by mutual respect. We part ways as friends and colleagues and look forward to the success of both conferences.”
Aresco also said there has been no decision on a new name for the old Big East members.
“We have not chosen a new conference name at this time, and there are no favorites,” he said. “We are going through a thoughtful evaluation of potential names for our conference, and will select a name in a timely manner through a comprehensive and deliberate process that involves our presidents and athletic directors as well as constituents from inside and outside the conference.
“We are excited about the prospect of re-branding and look forward to working with our institutions and our fans as we engage in this process.”
A person familiar with the negotiations told the AP earlier this week that the football schools will receive about $100 million from a $110 million stash the conference had built up over the last two and a half years through exit and entry fees as well as NCAA men’s basketball tournament funds.
“It’s been an arduous four months but we got to the right place,” Aresco said in a phone interview. “I think both conferences have good futures.”
The person familiar with the negotiations said the bulk of the money will go to holdover members Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida.
The divorce agreement with the basketball members, and the football schools’ new TV deal with ESPN, still must be ratified by the school presidents. Aresco said that should come soon and without glitches.
Next up on the agenda for the football schools, Aresco said, is to find a 12th member and venues for future basketball tournaments.
What would you call the new conference? Be heard in the comments…
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