Big East basketball "Catholic Seven" to leave in 2014?

Jamie Squire

Georgetown mascot Jack the Bulldog, and his six other friends, could be on the move sooner than originally thought.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock this month, you've known for about a week now that the seven basketball-only schools in the Big East have decided to separate and form their own hoops-exclusive league.

The proposed conference is one that is reported to eventually include current Atlantic 10 programs Xavier and Butler, but may even spread to include other Catholic mid-major universities. Today, the saga provided yet another twist, as ESPN's Brett McMurphy revealed this morning that Big East commissioner Mike Aresco is open to allowing the seven soon-to-be expatriates leave the conference following next season's 2013-14 campaign.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Aresco intimated that Conference USA's East Carolina, rumored to be considered as a football-only member of the Big East, is now likely to join for all sports. The Pirates were announced as the newest members of the continually deteriorating Big East alongside Tulane last month, a move that is considered to have been the last straw for St. John's and its allies.

There is no word yet on how much, if at all, the exit fees for each program would be if the seven were to leave in 2014. Currently, the schools are slated to depart the Big East on June 30, 2015 in order to avoid paying the said fees and uphold the Big East's 27-month rule that was established before Syracuse and Pittsburgh started the seemingly endless game of musical chairs a year ago when announcing their decisions to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Stay with the Rumble for further news and late-breaking developments regarding the realignment scenarios.

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