UCONN TO RECEIVE BIG PAYOUT
Huskies stand to gain $20-30 million in settlement
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 21:03
The University of Connecticut is one of three Big East schools receiving an estimated $20-30 million as part of a settlement between the holdover football schools and the seven departing basketball schools.
The agreement, which will be finalized later this week, allows the seven basketball schools known as the Catholic 7 – Villanova, Georgetown, Providence, Marquette, St. John’s, DePaul and Seton Hall – to leave and form their own conference this July.
The seven departing schools and the three holdover Big East football schools – UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida ¬– will divide about $100 million in exit fees, entry fees and NCAA Tournament revenue, with the seven basketball schools taking a significantly smaller cut in order to leave this summer.
The Catholic 7 will receive only $10 million to divide amongst its schools, but it will also receive the Big East name and the contract to play its conference tournament in Madison Square Garden.
UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida will divide the majority of the remaining money for an estimated total of $20-30 million per school. The future members of the new conference – Central Florida, Southern Methodist, Houston, Memphis, Temple, East Carolina, Tulane and Navy – will divide up a smaller portion of the exit fees as compensation for the new television deal, which was not as sizeable as anticipated by the members of the conference.
For UConn, the payout helps to offset the loss of revenue from the new television deal that the now-unnamed conference signed with ESPN on Feb. 23. The new deal will pay the conference $130 million over seven years, a payout of $2 million per year. The current Big East deal with ESPN pays UConn $3 million per year.
Two years ago, the Big East turned down a nine-year, $1.17 billion offer from ESPN, which would have paid UConn about $8 million per year.
Since turning down that deal, 16 schools – including the Catholic 7 – have decided to leave the Big East. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are joining the Atlantic Coast Conference this summer, with Louisville following next year. West Virginia and Texas Christian University (who agreed to join but never did) are now in the Big XII. Rutgers is joining the Big Ten. Boise State and San Diego State were both prepared to join for football only, but decided against joining as a result of the aforementioned moves.
Notre Dame is set to join the ACC in 2014, but with the Catholic 7 now departing this summer, the school will likely apply for an early exit. They are expected to either join the ACC this summer or spend a year in the new Big East.
UConn’s new conference does not yet have a name or a home for its postseason basketball tournament. It is expected that UConn officials will lobby for the tournament to be played at the XL Center in Hartford, the current home of the Big East women’s basketball tournament. Such matters were put on the hold while the television deal and the Catholic 7 negotiations were being handled.
In 2014, the conference will have 11 football members. According to the Hartford Courant, a 12th team could be added for 2015, and Tulsa is a leading candidate.