It seems an ESPN.com report published last week — the one that said Creighton is a “favorite” to join the new Big East Conference — was a tad ahead of itself.
Although SI.com’s Pete Thamel tweeted Monday that the Bluejays are a “perceived leader” to join the Big East’s seven Catholic schools, each of “Creighton, Richmond, Dayton and Saint Louis are on call as potential additional members,” writes Mark Blaudschun on his ajerseyguy.com blog.
Xavier and Butler are considered locks to form the new league with Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Providence, Marquette, and DePaul, which all plan to play in a new-look, same-name Big East starting next season.
It’s only a matter of time — most say within a week — before those plans are announced. Whether those programs want a 10th team as soon as this fall is to be determined.
Should the “Catholic 7″ pluck Creighton from the Missouri Valley Conference, it would end an era of stability in UE’s league. Membership hasn’t changed since Tulsa left in 1996, and the Aces’ basketball program was the last one added in 1994.
UE is happy within the MVC, at least as it is now, and would likely support the addition of another private school should Creighton bolt.
In a story published in Sunday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MVC commissioner Doug Elign said: “We’ve done a lot of research on prospective member schools, and we might have the opportunity to strengthen our membership after the dust settles. We will have a lot of choices, we believe. But we hope we don’t have any change in membership.”
Some other tidbits from the Post-Dispatch story:
—Creighton, or any other MVC member, would not face a penalty for leaving the league similar to the exit fees seen in other leagues.
—Schools are, however, at risk to lose some revenue — the $300-350,000 generated each year by a TV deal with ESPN — depending on how much notice given upon leaving. For 12-24 months, it’s half a year. For less than a year’s notice, they’d lose it all.
—The MVC doesn’t want to expand beyond 10 members. The current format allows each basketball program to play the others twice during the regular season, establishing a conference champion through a fair round robin format.