NEW YORK — If all goes to plan, and few expect it won’t, DePaul and the so-called Catholic 7 will swell into a 10-team league by the middle of next week.
The additions of Xavier, Butler and Creighton should become official by Wednesday or Thursday, according to sources familiar with the talks. And thus the new Big East would take shape for 2013-14.
Creighton’s departure from the Missouri Valley would leave the conference with nine schools, including Wichita State, and its first change in membership since Tulsa left for the Western Athletic Conference in 1996.
The Omaha World-Herald reported, with no sourcing, that Creighton would become a Big East member. Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen told the newspaper he had no information to share.
Xavier and Butler left Atlantic 10 meetings in New York on Friday, according to Sports Illustrated. The thought was that league might vote on increasing exit fees Friday, and if Xavier and Butler announced their imminent withdrawal, they would have lost voting rights and therefore would have had to exit the meeting.
The Atlantic 10 is holding its league tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
There had been some debate on the identity of any additions after Xavier and Butler, but the new Big East has settled on Creighton for certain, barring unexpected complications, sources told the Tribune..
It’s not believed any of the three potential additions has signed intent-of-entry paperwork with the new league, and nothing is truly official until they do. Snags or delays remain possible. But the new Big East currently expects to make the announcement before NCAA Tournament play begins.
DePaul, Marquette and five other basketball-playing Catholic schools announced their intent to secede from the Big East in December. After negotiations were finalized and then ratified Tuesday, those schools received the rights to the Big East name when they begin play in 2013-14.
The league has hired a search firm to find a commissioner, a process that one source expects might take six to 10 weeks.