Report: The Catholic Seven split won't happen until at least 2014

Doug Pensinger

There's at least another season of Big East play likely, as the various programs sort out the monetary and legal issues of a Big East split.

The Big East won't split for at least another season.

According to Mark Blaudschun, who has generally been on top of the Big East's realignment news, the sorting out of the legal issues - the Big East name, collecting exit fee money, and likely NCAA Tournament Unit monies - means that the full split won't happen for at least another full season, and maybe two or three.

With that as a backdrop, several sources say it will at least be the fall of 2014 and perhaps even as late as the fall of 2015 before the schools will be able to break away completely.

The [schools]... are also working on finding a way to immediately disperse the exit fee money from schools that have already left or committed to leaving, a total which is reportedly in excess of $50 million.

Remember that basketball season and scheduling happens before the fall, so complications and legal battles could keep some assemblage of the new Big East together for years. The money is needed to pay for start-up fees for the administration of the new conference, along with money to the schools themselves.

No matter how long it takes, St. John's Coach Steve Lavin expresses confidence in the process - and in the future potential of St. John's. "As I’ve said before," Lavin said to the media yesterday, "St. John’s is positioned in a way that, regardless of realignment outcome, we have strong prospects.

" Our heritage, traditions, Madison Square Garden, our recruiting base, our style of play, our staff and a number of reasons why St. John’s along with other schools are positioned to have success regardless of this particular chapter in conference realignment. That’s what it is, it’s another chapter of many from the past couple years, so we are just looking forward to finding out what that is just like anyone else would be."

A formal announcement of the plan to split is expected as soon as tomorrow.

Check out all of Rumble in the Garden's stories on realignment and St. John's | also see SB Nation New York's excellent piece on the next steps for the conference | and a look at the NCAA Tournament history and program wins for most of the schools considered for the new basketball-first "Catholic" conference.

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