Big East will play football in 2013, sources say

Dr. Saturday

The Big East appears to be set to play football in 2013, despite the basketball-playing Catholic schools wishing to split from the conference.

Multiple sources have told Yahoo! Sports the conference will play football next season and that talks of a split involving the basketball schools voting to disband the conference or leave entirely will not impact football for next year.

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"There is no truth to the rumor. The Big East plans to play football with 12 members in 2013," one source said.

Another highly placed source in the conference confirmed that nothing is currently being discussed in terms of dissolving the league that would change the plans for a 2013 football season. The conference fully expects to have a football schedule.

No one, however, seems willing to know for certain what will happen beyond that time frame.

The move to dissolve the league could happen soon according to multiple reports, confirmed by Yahoo! Sports. In the last month, Rutgers left the conference for the Big Ten and Louisville followed days later, bolting to the ACC. There are currently 10 members with voting rights in the Big East, seven of which are the Catholic schools who participate only in Olympic sports -- of which basketball is the king. Those seven universities would have enough votes to dissolve the Big East and go in the direction of starting a new conference with basketball -- not football -- as the centerpiece. That would leave Cincinnati, South Florida and UConn on the outs. Temple, a program that joined last year, does not have voting rights on this issue until July 1, 2013.

That may not be all.

Into this mix comes more uncertainty regarding Big East additions for the 2013 season, including Boise State and San Diego State. One source told Yahoo! Sports that, "It wouldn't be surprising to see a new conference formed from some of these programs" if the Big East disbands as a football entity, mainly the schools in the West that would find themselves without a football conference.

According to the source, there seems to be a possibility that programs from several conferences on the fringes of the BCS system could bond together to form a new conference. Their goal would be to try and take the Big East's slot in the new playoff system if the league is dissolved.

Last spring, there was talk of the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA merging and later on, speculation that the Big East could merge with those conferences for a mega-conference in an effort to appeal for a broader, national television contract. Now it looks like some schools might be splintering off in an effort to control their own destiny, and a new western conference could be the byproduct.

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Follow Yahoo! Sports' Kristian R. Dyer via Twitter @KristianRDyer.

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