Several outlets are reporting Thursday the seven Big East basketball-only schools are preparing to break away from the conference, which could set off the next wave of realignment in college sports.
It has been speculated for months the basketball schools might leave as Big East football desperately attempts to survive in an ever-changing landscape.
The New York Post reported the decision would come Thursday while other outlets reported it would not.
The basketball-only schools are Georgetown, DePaul, Marquette, St. John’s, Providence, Seton Hall and Villanova.
Big East football has been in all-out scramble mode since Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College bolted for the Atlantic Conference. Miami and Virginia Tech left after 2003 season while Boston College left after 2004.
More recently, Rutgers announced it was leaving for the Big Ten in 2014 while Louisville is departing for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Big East is set to add Boise State and San Diego State next season as it expands its league from coast to coast. Southern Methodist, Houston, Central Florida, Tulane and East Carolina are also set to join remaining members Cincinnati, South Florida, Temple and Connecticut.
New Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco has been trying to hold the conference together as he works to garner a new television deal. The basketball-only schools, however, have travel concerns in the continually changing configuration. Aresco has proposed, for basketball, keeping the Catholic schools in one division with limited “cross-over” games with the football division.
The Big East was founded in 1979 as a basketball conference and expanded to include football beginning in 1991.
The Big East is a charter member of the Bowl Championship Series and its football champion has an automatic berth in a BCS game. The BCS ends after next season and will be replaced with a four-team playoff and no automatic qualifiers.