The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

March 8, 2013

Big East completes football-basketball breakup

— NEW YORK (AP) — The Big East made its split official Friday, with seven basketball schools breaking away from the football-playing members in a deal that takes effect on July 1.

Commissioner Mike Aresco told The Associated Press that the seven Catholic schools which are leaving to form a basketball-centric conference will get the Big East name, along with the opportunity to play their league tournament in Madison Square Garden.

The football members, most of which are newcomers to a conference that has been ravaged by realignment, get a cash haul of roughly $100 million. That group includes just one founding Big East member — Connecticut — and will have to find a name for what is essentially a new league.

"It's been an arduous four months but we got to the right place," Aresco said in a phone interview. "I think both conferences have good futures."

Aresco, who will remain commissioner of the football league, would not disclose the financial part of the settlement.

A person familiar with the negotiations told the AP earlier this week that the football schools will receive about $100 million from a $110 million stash the conference had built up over the last two and a half years through exit and entry fees as well as NCAA men's basketball tournament funds.

Aresco said the football schools have not chosen a conference name and there are no favorites yet. "We can get on with reinventing ourselves and re-establishing our brand," he said.

He also said they have not determined how the money from the separation agreement will be split among the members. The person familiar with the negotiations said the bulk of the money will go to holdover members Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida.

The split with the basketball members as well as a new TV deal with ESPN for the football schools still must be ratified by the school presidents. Aresco said that should come soon and without glitches.

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