- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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The new Big East has laid out a working plan to become operational this summer that has major issues that need to be resolved, notably that the old Big East needs to have a new name by May 2.
ESPN.com obtained a "Big East Work Plan" email that was distributed Wednesday to the 10 schools that will make up the new Big East: Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, Villanova, Marquette, DePaul, Butler, Xavier and Creighton. The email details that the league needs the old Big East to have a new name before the May 2 NCAA board of directors meeting so the new Big East can be recognized as a full NCAA member with all rights afforded it, including automatic bids to NCAA championships.
The consultant on the email, former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, made it clear that the new Big East cannot afford to wait until the next NCAA board meeting in August.
The new Big East also will seek an audience at the Final Four with the BCS commissioners to ensure that there are no objections.
The email also states that the new Big East's tournament, which will be played at Madison Square Garden, cannot afford to be considered second-tier. The email says there must be a strong push by the member schools to get out ahead of the tournament to ensure a success. There is concern that if attendance were poor it would reflect badly upon the new Big East.
The email also says a decision has to be made about whether the women's tournament would be also held at the Garden. The current Big East has had the women's tournament in Hartford, while the men played in New York.
The other interesting note had to do with officiating and the importance of finding the right lead as well as determining the style of play. This needs to be addressed at a joint AD/men's basketball coaches meeting.
"Should the physical style of play continue to be allowed in the Big East? That is contrary to the direction of the rest of the country and the tournament, and can hurt teams in nonconference play and the NCAAs," the email read.
Discussion on this topic is set up for the Final Four in Atlanta. The hope is to hire a coordinator of officials by May 1 and decide whether this person will be an employee or an independent contractor.
There is an agreement, apparently, with the current Big East staffers to share an assessment of the Olympic sports with the decisions made by May 1.
Regular-season scheduling in all sports is also a hot issue, and a decision will be made about whether sports that have fewer than six member schools will play under the Big East banner.
The new Big East will officially be under its own name July 1.
The league is already actively searching for a commissioner, with the two most discussed names -- but hardly the only ones -- being NCAA vice president and former Big East associate commissioner Dan Gavitt and WCC commissioner Jamie Zaninovich.
The league, which will be headquartered in New York, is expected to play a full round-robin schedule of 18 conference games next season, both men and women.
The NCAA is expected to approve an automatic bid for the new Big East and the old Big East to give the NCAA tournament 32 automatic qualifiers and 36 at-large berths, down from one this year.