Seven Roman Catholic colleges in the Big East Conference will pull out of the league, USA Today reported Thursday, but have yet to make an official announcement; many financial and procedural questions remain. Speculation has been brewing all week as to whether the non-Football Bowl Series programs would depart a conference that has strayed from its basketball roots and become increasingly football-oriented. The conference has been one of the biggest victims of the continuing realignment chaos, losing 10 members to bigger and richer leagues since 2005 – most recently Rutgers University, which announced two weeks ago it would join the Big Ten Conference – and the basketball colleges were reportedly upset with the way Big East leaders selected new additions (most recently, Tulane and East Carolina Universities). At this point, the conference has nine members set to join beginning next year, four of which will be football-only members. (Those are Boise State, San Diego State and East Carolina Universities and the U.S. Naval Academy. The full members will be the Universities of Houston, Memphis and Central Florida, Southern Methodist University and Tulane.)
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