Senior Columnist

Remaining Big East schools could be worth $40 million per year

A 13-team conference consisting of the remaining Big East football-playing schools would be worth approximately $40 million per year, multiple industry sources told

That would net the 13 members approximately $3 million each annually. However, with the news only hours old that Big East private basketball schools are breaking away, nothing is certain. If the league officially dissolves, it could be that “everybody heads for the hills,” according to one highly-placed source.

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It's not even clear if or how the Big East trademark would be retained. reported last week that a contract that included all 20 schools -- including the seven privates -- could be worth as little as $60 million per year.

The value of a new contract -- up or down -- hinges on the number of all-sports members, specifically Boise State. Whether the school stays with the diminished league or goes back to the Mountain West -- its home from 2010-12 -- is still to be determined.

Boise and San Diego State both have their nonfootball sports parked in the Big West Conference. reported Thursday that Boise will pay the Big East $1 million each of the next three seasons as sort of an “entry fee” ostensibly to defray travel costs. All of the current WCC schools are in California.

Without Boise, the remaining schools' best TV drawing cards likely becomes SMU and Houston. Those schools aren't primary media draws in their own cities, one indication of how diminished the league would be going forward.

Six Conference USA schools -- Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Tulane, East Carolina -- as well as Boise and San Diego State are due to officially join the Big East on July 1. But will there be a Big East to join?

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