(NEW YORK) — The Big East Conference received a devastating blow on Saturday when seven schools that don’t play FBS football have decided to leave the conference and pursue something new.
The presidents of Depaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. Johns, Seton Hall, and Villanova have announced unanimously that the schools are vacating the conference.
“The basketball institutions have notified us that they plan to withdraw from the Big East,” commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “The membership recognizes their contributions over the long distinguished history of the Big East. The 13 members of the conference are confident and united regarding our collective future.”
Per conference bylaws, they will leave on June 30, 2015. Those laws require departing members to give the conferfence 27 months’ notice. However, Big East rules do allow schools to leave as a group without being oblicated to pay hefty exit fees.
This move leaves uncertain futures for Connecticut, Cincinnati, and South Florida. All three schools have FBS programs.
Despite all of the conference realignment, the Big East is still planning on having a 12-team football conference in 2012 with six new members. Rutgers and Louisville both announced intentions to leave the conference in the near future but are expected to compete in the Big East next year.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN