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Report: Big East basketball schools likely to leave the league

Dec 13, 2012, 1:21 AM EDT

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We should know what the future holds for the Big East within the next 24-48 hours, according to a report from ESPN.com. They are scheduled to have a teleconference on Thursday.

There’s no need to sugarcoat this; it doesn’t look promising for Big East fans:

The presidents of the Big East’s seven Catholic, non-Football Bowl Subdivision schools are expected to decide on their future in the Big East in the coming days and it “would be an upset” if they remained in the league, sources told ESPN.

The seven schools — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova — are “close to a consensus on what they want to do next,” a source said Wednesday.

The most important detail to note from the report — Andy Katz, Brett McMurphy and Dana O’Neil are on the byline — is that Temple has voting rights as a Big East member, but is not allowed to vote on the dissolution of the conference. That means that the league’s seven Catholic schools have the two-thirds majority needed (South Florida, UConn and Cincinnati are the other three) to dissolve the Big East.

So what happens from here?

Who knows.

Do the Catholic Seven simply leave the conference and all of the money — NCAA tournament win shares, the exit fees paid by the previous departees — on the table? Do they vote to dissolve the league and try to start a new conference using the Big East’s brand? Do they join forces with the Atlantic 10? Do they steal teams like Butler, VCU and Creighton?

Again, what happens to all the money that’s left over? How much do the lawyers fighting over the scraps end up banking?

And what happens to UConn, USF and Cincinnati? Are they left to fend for themselves in Conference USA, aka the Big East’s football side? What happens to their basketball programs when they are mixed up with the likes of Central Florida, Houston, SMU and Tulane? Are Memphis and Temple going to try and find a way to back out?

Ugh.

This is going to get messy.

Just prepare yourself for another whirlwind round of realignment, multi-teams raids, and conference-on-conference violence.

I need a beer, a cigarette and a shower.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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