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bigeastlogoMultiple outlets — among them ESPN.com and CBS Sports — are reporting that the Big East Conference’s seven Catholic schools will announce their new league Thursday and begin play this fall.

Missouri Valley Conference member Creighton is “likely” part of the deal, according to the reports, “and could be added for next season as well.”

The new league will retain the Big East name and play its men’s basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden, just as the current league does. A major TV deal with Fox will also be announced.

The Big East holdovers will form a new conference under a different name having sold the name to the Catholic 7 — DePaul,Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova. Xavier and Butler will also be part of the new Big East.

In a Yahoo! Sports Radio interview Thursday morning, MVC commissioner Doug Elgin reportedly called Creighton’s potential departure “depressing,” adding that the Bluejays’ move is “geographically unfit.”

Distance has been the major hangup in Creighton’s inclusion with the other Catholic schools, some of which would have to travel more than 1,000 miles to play non-revenue sports in Omaha, Neb.

If chosen, the Bluejays’ athletic department beat out other possible members such as Dayton and Saint Louis, which are rumored to join should the Big East expand to 12 teams.

“Myself, my staff and my team is not on the need-to-know list,” Creighton men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott said Thursday at a pre-MVC tournament press conference. “We know nothing.”

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