Report: $100M for football schools

Updated: March 5, 2013, 7:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Big East football schools will get almost all of a $110 million pot in a deal that will allow seven departing basketball schools to keep the name Big East and start playing in their own conference next season, a person familiar with the negotiations says.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the separation agreement has not yet been finalized. That is likely to happen by the end of the week. The football schools will receive approximately $100 million under the agreement.

The basketball schools will receive $10 million, the Big East name and the right to play their conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Of the $110 million in exit fees, holdover members Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida will get the biggest share, but the new football members -- Central Florida, Houston, SMU, Memphis, Temple, East Carolina, Tulane and Navy -- also will receive a share of the exit fees to help compensate for the lower-than-expected worth of the media rights deal, sources told ESPN's Brett McMurphy.

One athletic director told ESPN's Andy Katz that the conference will take $15 million off the top for legal fees, consultants and other service.

The Big East's stash of cash has built up in recent years through a combination of exit fees, entry fees and money the league's members earned in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Since 2011, the Big East has lost 16 schools that were either members or dropped out before playing a game. That figure includes the seven Catholic basketball schools.

The so-called Catholic 7, which is expected to add at least two more members before it begins competition in the 2013-14 school year, is made up of Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, Seton Hall, Providence, Marquette and DePaul. Butler, Xavier and Creighton also will join the league, which will begin play in 2013, sources told McMurphy.

The new Big East has a television deal from Fox waiting for it, though it still needs to hire a commissioner and set up a league office.

As part of the Catholic 7 schools' exit agreement with the Big East, the schools will keep all of their NCAA tournament units, sources told McMurphy

Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has said the conference is looking at adding another member to give it an even 12. It would then break into two divisions of six and play a football championship game.

The Big East football schools recently agreed to a seven-year deal worth $130 million with ESPN. However, the first year of the deal will be reduced from $10 million to a lower amount, a source told McMurphy, because of the departure of the seven basketball schools.

The Big East will receive $20 million annually for the final six years of the deal, or about $2 million per school, sources told McMurphy.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy and Andy Katz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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