Georgetown reportedly saying goodbye to Big East

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Sports,College,Craig Stouffer

Hoyas, six other Catholic schools are preparing to depart

John Thompson III is not crying over the fate of the Big East.

The Georgetown men's basketball coach has adopted a professorial approach in line with the academic institution he represents as he prepares for the end of the conference as it has long been known.

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Facing the imminent departure of the Hoyas and the six other basketball-only Catholic schools from the Big East, according to multiple reports, Thompson was adamant Thursday only that the university was being deliberate and analytical before making a move.

"I don't think I'm out of line speaking for president [John] DeGioia or [athletic director Lee] Reed: It's not going to be an emotional decision," Thompson said. "It's going to be a decision based on research and projections of what's going to be best for this institution, as much as we can control."

But most of that effort, according to reports, has turned from whether the group of seven schools will leave the Big East to how and what happens next. The presidents of those schools met with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco on Sunday in New York to discuss their concerns and reportedly had a conference call among themselves Thursday.

An announcement of their decision could come as soon as this week, according to ESPN.com. A report by SI.com suggested that Georgetown was advocating most for the Catholic schools to stay in the Big East. Neither DeGioia nor Reed was available for comment as Thompson met with reporters on campus at McDonough Gymnasium.

There is plenty to potentially be resolved from what happens to the name Big East to the impact on the BCS and the football teams left behind to the future of the breakaway schools in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

"I think that's all part of what's being considered right now," Thompson said when asked about the value of the Big East brand. "That's possibly part of the litany of things that are being kicked around, talked about and discussed. It's all-encompassing."

The process also involves determining whether a basketball-only conference -- one that might target schools like Dayton, Saint Louis and Xavier from the Atlantic 10 or even George Mason from the CAA -- can generate income that matches that of a television deal involving football.

The Big East was formed in 1979, when John Thompson Jr. was eight seasons into his tenure with the Hoyas and John Thompson III was 13 years old. Thirty-three years later, the younger Thompson's primary concern is the future of his program and university, not preserving a landscape whose time appears to have come and gone.

"I think I would have my head in the sand to say that its 'incomprehensible' right now," Thompson said. "The Big East has absolutely been a part and is a part of my life, as a fan initially and now intimately involved with it since its inception. But we're going through an evolution, and change happens."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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