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It has been a rough two years for the Big East Conference which has lost six schools and saw its football teams rank behind the WAC in this year’s conference power rankings. According to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, things might get worse as the non-football schools have discussed splitting off from the conference as well.The Big East conference got its start, and rose to prominence, as a basketball conference. But as they chased the big dollars associated with football television contracts, it looks like that well is going to dry up.
Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com reported that the next television deal for the Big East could only be worth $60-80 million per year. That translates to $4.0-5.3 million per school per year. For comparison, the schools of the Big 10, Big 12, and Pac-12 all take home over $20 million per year.
If the schools do depart, one possibility is joining the Atlantic-10 conference, which is open to becoming a 21-team basketball super-conference according to Andy Katz of ESPN.com. That would leave the Big East with 13 football schools. However, according to Dodd, several of those schools could choose to exercise reduced exit fees if the television deal does turn out to be as low as reported.