Catholic 7 already banking on Butler and Xavier?

Not even in the league for six months, Butler is already being floated to leave the Atlantic 10. (US Preswire)

We're still far away from settled lawsuits and all the red tape that's going to make this Big East situation stickier than it already is.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting the Catholic 7 -- the seven Big East schools that don't play big-time football leaving to start their own league -- are already honed in on two similar programs that could join them in their new venture.

Butler and Xavier of the Atlantic 10 are those schools. Butler's just fresh out of the Horizon League; it's only been in the A10 for a few months. Xavier has been part of the conference since 1995. Could those schools already be beyond a hope -- but actually committed?

Per the Journal Sentinel's story, yes.

Marquette's new basketball-centric athletic conference will include 10 or 12 teams, have a reasonable television contract and rotating sites for its league tournament, according to university sources.

The Golden Eagles will join six other former members of the Big East: Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, DePaul, Seton Hall and Villanova. Butler and Xavier will leave the Atlantic 10 to join the new unnamed league.

Creighton, Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton or St. Louis could become the 10th team, or the conference could begin play with 12 teams if three schools vying for the 10th spot are all worthy candidates.

The decision to form the new league has already been made, according to MU sources.


Marquette's share from a TV contract should be no less than the $1.5 million it currently receives from the Big East, a source said.

As I wrote on Thursday, this would create some sort of really good league. This is still all premature, though. Ideas and plans and hopes and agreements can seem settled now, but we don't know what's going to happen with Big East fallout. There will be much lawyerin' happening, I assure you.

Also consider the ripple effects that could come into play if the remaining members of the Big East are able to pull off a coup of an idea that's fledgling: going bi-coastal and trying to embolden the conference through unconventional setup.

But as for the Catholic 7's plans, if Butler was involved, the story above mentions a league tournament would rotate sites. The other thing to factor in here is, the Atlantic 10 as it's currently constructed is a very good basketball league. Which schools would be willing to leave something legitimately stable in order to chase glory in a new league? It will, of course, come down to money, and you can rest assured these Big East defectors would not be turning heel on the conference that gave them life unless they had strong assurances that good TV money -- more money than they were getting ($1.6 million/year) in the Big East -- would come with the move.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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