Reports: Catholic 7 to keep 'Big East' name, start league next fall

The breakup of the Big East is coming earlier than expected.

Multiple reports on Thursday night indicated the “Catholic 7” would start their own league next fall, as opposed to waiting. That means DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova will be leaving the Big East Conference after this season.

Moreover, as our own Jeff Goodman reported on Thursday, Butler and Xavier will also be targeted to join the conference in the fall. Sources told that there wasn’t a consensus on which teams to add past those two, though. Creighton is in the mix, along with Dayton and Saint Louis.

The debate over which group -- the Catholic 7 or the remaining Big East teams -- would keep the “Big East” name is also reportedly over. reported that the seven departing Catholic schools would keep the Big East name, while the other teams look for a new conference name.

Sources confirmed to Goodman on Thursday that the Big East presidents and athletic directors will meet on Friday in Atlanta to discuss a number of issues. The ADs and presidents from the Catholic 7 schools will not be in attendance. reported the football schools would discuss the sale of the Big East name.

This leaves Notre Dame in a state of limbo. The Fighting Irish were not expected to join the ACC until the summer of 2014. But with the Catholic 7 schools departing, it could force the Irish to make a move sooner rather than later. They could either move to the ACC before next season -- if allowed -- or spend a year in the Catholic 7 before making the switch to the ACC.

The Catholic 7 is also expected to announce a television deal with Fox Sports Network, which will reportedly pay between $3 million and $4 million per school.

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