Done deal: Big East finalizes breakup

NEW YORK — The Big East made its split official Friday, with seven basketball schools breaking away from the football-playing members in a deal that will take effect July 1.

Commissioner Mike Aresco told the Associated Press that the seven Catholic schools leaving to form a basketball-centric conference will get the Big East name, along with the opportunity to play their tournament in Madison Square Garden.

The football members, most of which are newcomers to a conference that has been ravaged by realignment, get a cash haul of roughly $100 million. That group includes just one founding Big East member — Connecticut — and will have to find a name for what is essentially a new league.


‘‘It’s been an arduous four months, but we got to the right place,’’ Aresco said in a phone interview. ‘‘I think both conferences have good futures.’’

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The seven schools breaking away from the football schools include some of the Big East’s founding members and most recognizable teams — Georgetown, St. John’s, Providence, Seton Hall, and Villanova — as well as Marquette, and DePaul. They are expected to sign a television rights deal with Fox, add at least two schools, and start competing in the 2013 fall semester.

The football conference now known as the Big East will consist next season of UConn, South Florida, Cincinnati, Temple, Rutgers, and Louisville, along with incoming members Memphis, Central Florida, SMU, and Houston.

Rutgers and Louisville will likely be playing their last seasons in the conference before switching to the Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference, respectively.

Tulane and East Carolina are scheduled to join the football league in 2014, and Navy comes aboard in 2015.


Aresco said the football schools have not chosen a conference name and there are no favorites yet.

He also said they have not determined how the money from the separation agreement will be split among the members. A person familiar with the negotiations said the bulk of the money will go to holdover members Cincinnati, UConn, and South Florida.

Next up on the agenda for the football schools, Aresco said, is to find a 12th member and venues for future basketball tournaments.