Friday, the Big East football teams will meet in Atlanta to decide whether they'll agree to let the basketball teams leave this July, per the always reliable Mark Blaudschun. In exchange, the basketball teams are offering to leave a significant amount of cash on the table in order to not only get the heck out of Dodge, but to take the name Dodge with them.
At the meeting, the remaining teams will also likely agree to sell the "Big East" name to the basketball teams. Which means the astute folks who've driven this conference into the ground will get to decide on a new name! That totally will go well. (If only they let it be a contest like the New Orleans Hornets >natch> Pelicans. CONFERENCE NAMES SUGGESTIONS WELCOME!!!)
What does that mean for USF?
On the plus side, in order to leave two years early and take the name, the basketball schools are agreeing to take "considerably less money" from of the conference's 2013 NCAA Tournament shares, which Blaud's says is "reported to be in excess of $60 million." Just spit-balling, but let's say the basketball schools agree to take only $10 million of that; if the five remaining schools (Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers and USF) split the remainder evenly, that could be $10 million going to USF.
Furthermore, USF, UConn and Cincinnati will also get a larger percentage of the pool of exit fees that schools Pitt, Syracuse, Louisville, Rutgers, Notre Dame and WVU are paying, as the bolting basketball schools are going to use some of their cut as further collateral for their own exit fees, and the incoming schools will likely get a smaller cut as well.
WVU, Pitt, and Syracuse's pay-out totals $35 million, and if Rutgers and Louisville only want to play one more season in the league, they'll probably pay around the $7.5 million that the Pitt and Syracuse each paid to leave after one season (WVU agreed to pay $20 million to leave immediately after the 2011-2012 academic year.). Ballparking it, the total buy-out for the football teams leaving could be around $50 million. That's not even including Notre Dame's buy-out.
That totals $110 million, and USF, Cincinnati and UConn will get the largest shares (well, until UConn and Cinci bolt for greener pastures . . .).
Moneywise, USF could make out like a bandit, at least initially. How much will probably be decided at Friday's meeting or soon thereafter, and depends on how much goes to the incoming schools and how valuable the basketball schools value the Big East name.
But I can't think that USF would get less than $10 million from the exit fees and tourney pool, and could perhaps get around $20m. Whatever the amount, it eases the blow of the depressingly small TV deal, at least for one year. It also helps pay Skip Holtz's buy-out.
On the meh side, the basketball conference will still be decent next year with Louisville, UConn and Memphis, not as good as the Big East currently, but not terrible.
On the minus end of things, ugh. We have to come up with a new conference name, which isn't exactly the easiest thing to do. And Blaud's hint - Big American Conference - sounds terrible.
In a way, it's rather fitting. If 2013 is the last season for the AQ status, might as well be the last season for Big East football, or whatever it'll be called. (Did I mention CONFERENCE NAME SUGGESTIONS WELCOME! POST IN COMMENTS)
Honestly though, I can't be the only one that finds all this less depressing than the TV contract, right? At least we'll get some decent scratch out of this.