In a breakdown of the evolving realignment and what’s left of the Big East Conference, SI.com reporter Pete Thamel on Friday called Creighton a “near definite” candidate to join the league’s seven Catholic schools as they break away.
Thamel, a former New York Times journalist known for reporting big-time stories, said Xavier and Butler are “definite” additions to join the Big East defectors. He categorized Dayton and Creighton, out of the Missouri Valley Conference, as “near definite” and said Saint Louis would be a leading candidate to become the new league’s 12th team.
The New York Post previously reported that the seven Big East Catholic schools wanted to form a 12-team league, not 10, and have eastern and western divisions. A western division very much brings Creighton into play.
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.