A new television deal with ESPN, despite the low payout, allows the Big East to transition from a tumultuous 15 months.
Will a name change complete the makeover?
The Big East namesake was part of the television negotiations with NBC, according to a source -- a potential provision of roughly $2 million for the network to market a new name should the league sell the Big East handle to the departing Catholic 7.
The NBC Sports Network offered a reported $20-23 million per year for the Big East's media rights, but ESPN had the exclusive rights to match, which it did last week. It's uncertain whether ESPN's deal has the same provision.
Big East officials did not provide clarification on the contractual language upon request. CBSSports.com has reached out to an ESPN spokesman on the matter.
In December, a Big East attorney sent the Catholic 7 -- composed of DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova – a document titled “Mutual Commitment Agreement – Initial Separation Issues List” asking the group whether it wishes to retain the name.
The basketball schools might have more attachment to it because of their history in the league. If the name is worth, say, $8-10 million, that's good money for a football league that resembles the old Conference USA after several waves of conference realignment.
No football team in the 10-team Big East lineup for 2014 has held membership for more than nine years.
More than half this new-look league has yet to make its Big East football debut.
The conference's anchors, UConn and Cincinnati and USF, would prefer to join the ACC. The league will add Navy in 2014 and could include Tulsa in the coming months.