The Big East Conference is expected to announce Thursday that they've reached an agreement to allow the seven Catholic basketball schools to leave this summer, according to an ESPN.com report.
The deal will let the Catholic 7 schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova -- to retain the Big East name and play a tournament at Madison Square Garden, sources told ESPN.
The septet will start their new league July 1. Butler, Xavier and Creighton are also expected to join, producing a 10-team league for 2013-14, sources told ESPN.com. For 2014-15, Dayton and St. Louis are the leading candidates to increase membership to 12 teams.
A source for one of the exiting schools told ESPN that the new league must pursue expansion, name a commissioner, draft bylaws, and complete fall championship planning.
After the change, 10 members will remain in the Big East in 2014: Connecticut, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, SMU, Temple, Tulane and UCF. Navy is scheduled to join in 2015, and Tulsa is the leading candidate to become the league's 12th member in either 2014 or '15, sources told ESPN.