On Wednesday, the league formerly known as the Big East released the news of what will now be the new Big East.
When the 2013-14 season begins, the conference will have 10 teams thanks to the official additions of Butler, Xavier and Creighton, which was formally announced Wednesday. These schools make up the 10-team league along with the Catholic 7 of Marquette, Seton Hall, DePaul, Georgetown, St. John's, Providence and Villanova, which split off from football-playing school in the Big East.
The biggest news outside of the official additions is that the Big East has a contract with Madison Square Garden to be the site for the league tournament through 2026. A boon for the membership, no doubt. The league also signed a 12-year deal with Fox Sports, it announced.
"FOX Sports and its new national cable network, FOX Sports 1, will acquire television rights to all Big East game action, as part of a 12-year contract," according to a release. "Under the broadcast partnership, FOX Sports will have television rights to a wide range of marquee Big East basketball games, including the annual Big East conference tournament."
Five of the 10 programs that will comprise the restructured league are playing in this year's NCAA tournament.
The conference will assemble as a new entity on July 1 later this year. Every scholarship sport offered by every school will be brought into play for the conference.
“We are thrilled that MSG will continue to serve as the official home of the Big East tournament," Father Donald Harrington of St. John's said. "In addition to being the center of the basketball universe, the Garden has served as a thrilling backdrop for so many of the Big East's most enduring memories and greatest individual achievements."
Just think, a few years ago the Big East had an NCAA-record 11 teams sent to the tournament. And now it won't even have that many in its league.
A new era -- and a huge win for the conference, by the way. Creighton, Xavier and Butler are solid programs and undoubtedly bolster the profile of this league. Any of the teams can win the conference, and this should be a case where the Big East can minimally expect to send half its teams to the NCAAs each year. It's that strong.
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