The Big East-American breakup: By the numbers

The Big East-American breakup: By the numbers
July 1, 2013, 12:30 pm
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It's July 1, 2013, meaning a Wikipedia search for Big East now directs to this page.

Actually, it's done that for the last few months, but you get the point.

As of today, the Big East and the American Athletic Conference are officially separate entities.

Realignment has drastically altered the look of the college landscape over the last decade, but no major conference has been hit harder than the Big East -- or what's now known as the American.

A quick recap: Following an exodus of schools from the conference, the Big East's seven basketball schools decided it was time that they, too, exit. Those institutions reached a settlement with the football schools over the rights to the Big East name.

That settlement is now in effect, so consider this your official guide as to how the two leagues got to this point.

We'll start by reminding you which schools are playing in which league, and then we'll move on to how the strongest basketball conference in collegiate history, and an AQ football league, finally came apart.

The Big East-American break up by the numbers ...

• 10 schools will start play in the inaugural American Athletic Conference season this coming fall: Temple, Cincinnati, UConn, USF, Rutgers, Louisville, Memphis, UCF, SMU and Houston.

• 2 of those schools -- Louisville and Rutgers -- are leaving for the ACC and Big Ten, respectively, in 2014.

• 4 more schools will join the American thereafter. Tulane, East Carolina and Tulsa are joining in 2014, and Navy is joining for football in 2015. Navy's arrival will give the conference 12 schools, enough to break into divisions and a play a conference championship game for football.

• 10 schools will start play in the (sort of) inaugural Big East season this fall: Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John's, DePaul, Providence, Seton Hall, Butler, Xavier and Creighton.

• 7 of those -- Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John's, DePaul, Providence, Seton Hall -- are from the former Big East, two -- Xavier and Butler -- are from the Atlantic 10, and one -- Creighton -- is from the Missouri Valley.

• 2 more schools -- Saint Louis and Dayton -- were initially thought to be expansion candidates, but new Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said last week that the league has no current intentions of expanding beyond 10 teams.

So that's where we are now. But how did we get there?

• 20 schools -- that's right, 20 -- have left or are scheduled to leave what's now known as the American Athletic Conference dating back to 2004.

• 7 of those -- Boston College, Miami, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville -- have gone or will go to the ACC, meaning nearly half of the ACC's 15 member schools by 2014 will have come directly from the Big East.

• 7 schools -- the seven mentioned above -- left to play in the new Big East.

• 3 schools -- TCU, Boise State and San Diego State -- agreed to join the former Big East, but left before they ever played a game. TCU opted for the Big 12 instead and Boise and San Diego decided they were better off where they were in the Mountain West.

• 1 school (West Virginia) went to the Big 12, another (Rutgers) is going to the Big Ten, and one other school was actually kicked out, only to be invited back seven years later. That, of course, would be Temple.

• 6 different conferences -- the American, Big East, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Mountain West -- now house those 20 schools.

• 11 Big East schools made the NCAA tournament in 2011, an all-time record. By 2014, just three years later, those programs will be scattered across five different leagues.

• 8 different schools represented the Big East in 14 total BCS bowl games dating back to the 1998-99 season. Just two of those schools, UConn and Cincinnati, remain in the American conference, and both have already tried to leave (The ACC picked Louisville instead). After the 2013 season, the American will lose its automatic qualifier berth and join Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt in the "Group of Five," or the group of conferences from which only one team will be guaranteed a spot in one of the six premiere bowl games.

And speaking of Conference USA, if you're wondering how the American even exists after losing 19 schools in the course of a decade ...

• 9 of the American's 12 member programs by 2015 will be former members of Conference USA. Only Temple, UConn and Navy won't.

And this is as fitting a way to end it: The University of Connecticut is the only founding member of the original Big East that now plays in the American. 

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