Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Butler, Xavier and Creighton Headed to Big East

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Butler, Xavier and Creighton Headed to Big East

Article excerpt

The super-sized Atlantic 10 got the bad news Wednesday that everyone had seen coming for months, with Xavier and Butler leaving along with Creighton from the Missouri Valley Conference for the reconstituted Big East.

Left behind, at least for the moment, was St. Louis U., which was not among the initial group of schools brought in to join the so- called Catholic 7, the breakaway non-football-playing schools in the old Big East. The league is expected to expand to 12 teams maybe even in its initial season but at the moment, the new Big East is focused on getting up and running with a little more than four months until fall sports get under way and nothing in place.

"We're at 10 for next year, we know that for sure," Providence president the Rev. Brian J. Shanley said at the league's announcement in New York. "Whether we get to 12 is negotiable. We've discussed a number of schools and have some really strong potential partners. We also believe the landscape of college sports has not stopped morphing. For now, we're very happy at 10. We'll see what happens going forward."

Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell reported Sunday that a Big East source told him that if the league got its operations in order quickly, it could add two more teams for next season and SLU was a leading candidate.

St. Louis U. remains publicly committed to the Atlantic 10, though common sense says a league that pays out a reported $3 million a year in its television contract, includes high-profile teams like Georgetown and plays its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden is preferable to one that pays about $400,000 in TV money. The payout of the league's TV contract reportedly increases with the number of teams, so expansion wouldn't dilute what each school takes home.

"We're always going to be looking into how we can grow and continue to build our program," SLU athletics director Chris May said during his team's practice session at HP Pavilion. "We feel good about our position. Clearly losing two quality programs from the A-10 is disappointing, but we move forward."

As it stands now, the A-10 will be down from 16 teams this season to 12 next season, with Temple (old Big East) and Charlotte (Conference USA) already having announced their departures. …

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