According to ESPN.com, Xavier, Butler and Creighton have been chosen by the Catholic 7 to start play in the new Big East in 2013-14.
There was no mention of any other schools, just that the league will then explore future expansion.
An official announcement is expected this week.
The Catholic 7 are jumping over a lot of real estate to get to Creighton in Omaha, Neb., which means Saint Louis likely figures in their plans. Dayton is probably still in the hunt, too, but there’s obviously not a consensus on who belongs next.
Mike DeCourcy, the lead college basketball writer for the Sporting News and a Big Ten Network commentator, said the decision to not start out with 12 schools means “they don’t want to dive into the deep end of the pool. They want to wade in a little bit and see how this thing plays. I don’t think Dayton’s chances to be part of that league are dead by any stretch.
“I think it might be a year or two down the line. I think they’ll want to see how it goes. The television network is going to want to see how it goes, and that’s going to be a big part of it. Are they willing to kick in for another few schools? I think they will be.”
If they do, DeCourcy added: “I don’t have much doubt Dayton would be one of them. The geographic fit, the historic relationships with a lot of the programs, the feel of the program relative to its hold on the market … they have everything going for them, and I think that’s quite obvious.”
The Flyers finished a disappointing 17-14 this season. And while experts believe the Catholic 7 decisions were made on results over the long haul, it still wasn’t a good time to have the program’s worst season in seven years.
“If Dayton had achieved at a level of Xavier has achieved over the last 10 or 12 years, perhaps they would have been the one that went first,” DeCourcy said. “But that’s not how it went. I think having to wait a little while, it need not be that punitive. There’s still some terrific coaches in the (Atlantic 10). They still have a terrific coach in Archie (Miller) and a great staff. But they’ve got to start making it so they can’t be ignored. They’ve got to start winning those games.”