On December 11, 2012, ESPN.com reported the Atlantic 10 Conference has had internal discussions regarding the possibility of a 21-team basketball conference should certain Big East Conference institutions become available. The Atlantic 10 model, which has added Butler and Virginia Commonwealth, two institutions with recent Final Four appearances, would include the seven (7) Big East institutions that do not offer FBS football (Marquette, DePaul, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova). These institutions held a meeting this past weekend with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco regarding the ongoing realignment issues the Conference has experienced over the past few years.
Because the Atlantic 10 currently maintains a strong membership of 14 teams (Temple and UNC Charlotte are leaving following the 2012-13 academic year), the Big East institutions will not likely be forced to make an immediate decision. This will give each institution’s decision-makers and stakeholders time to measure both the short- and long-term strategic and tactical needs of their respective athletic departments. In this case, these needs will likely include the best opportunity to secure a lucrative television deal, maintain traditional basketball rivalries and be affiliated with like-minded institutions from athletically, academically and philosophically.
The full article can be found here.