The Big East as we know it will soon be no more.
A group of seven teams voted on Thursday to leave the conference that has been in flux in the past few years, leaving the Big East without several of its basketball powerhouses.
The teams leaving the Big East are all prominent basketball schools that don’t play FBS football, The Associated Press noted. They include St. John’s, Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall, Providence, and Villanova.
The process for the teams to leave a join a new conference is expected to be long and expensive.
Officials at the schools leaving the Big East had expressed concerns about the direction of the conference, and said they didn’t feel they had a strong stake in its future. The exodus leaves the Big East with only four schools — South Florida, Connecticut and Cincinnati, Temple –– that are committed to the league beyond 2013, though there are 11 school committed to joining the conference in the next three years.
The direction of the teams leaving the Big East remains unclear. The Atlantic 10 was reportedly interested in bringing them on, though the idea of the schools — all Catholic — forming their own league with other Catholic universities like Gonzaga has also been floated.
As ESPN noted, it’s unclear if the Big East name would live on with the new conference. Four of the seven departing schools — Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, and Seton Hall — were founding members in 1979, leaving UConn as the only remaining Big East FBS member that was there at its founding.
And several of the new teams in the Big East push its geographical boundaries, bringing it into the western region with Boise State.