An ESPN.com report published Thursday night said, according to a source, that the Missouri Valley Conference’s Creighton is a favorite to join the Big East Conference’s seven breakaway Catholic schools, Butler and Xavier in a new league as soon as this fall.
“While Butler, Xavier and, most likely, Creighton are expected to join the new Big East this fall, the Catholic 7 schools are also expected to add Dayton and St. Louis in 2014 for a 12-team league,” the story reads.
Creighton officials did not comment on the matter when contacted by the Omaha World-Herald.
The new conference will retain the Big East name and sign a TV deal with Fox Sports Network.
Neither Butler nor Xavier have withdrawn from the Atlantic 10 Conference, a move ESPN reports carries a $2 million pricetag. There’s no reported MVC exit fee should Creighton dash, resulting in the first realignment to UE’s league since the 1990s.
This situation still appears fluid, as it has since the Big East’s seven Catholic schools officially announced intentions to leave in December. CBSSports.com’ latest report, filed before ESPN’s update Thursday night, suggests the new league may stick at nine teams if members can’t choose a consensus 10th (which would be Creighton’s spot.)
Expect to hear more on this as soon as Friday, when Big East presidents meet in Atlanta to discuss the “Catholic 7″ departure.
From a Dec. 21 blog post of mine:
“So what would Creighton’s exit mean for UE and the MVC?
—The MVC, which hasn’t added to its basketball membership since the Aces joined in 1994, would have to at least replace one member. As with all realignment moves, this could trigger other members’ exit from the league while they seek better fits (likely why sources were reporting UE to the Horizon League last weekend).
—As far as I can find, there’s been no reports about the MVC’s exit fee, or confirmation that the league even has one. When asked by email last week about this, correspondence wasn’t returned by an MVC official.
—At the same time, losing the Omaha, Neb., market wouldn’t affect the league’s TV contract immediately unless there’s an un-reported contract stipulation. The MVC is in year two of a five-year deal with ESPN.
—But for future deals, larger markets often stipulate bigger TV contracts. Would courting schools along the lines of Oral Roberts (in Tulsa, Okla.), Belmont (in Nashville, Tenn.) and Illinois-Chicago make sense as the MVC expands to 12 teams? We’ll see — and that’s just if Creighton does actually leave the league in the first place.”