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Big East moves on without ‘Basketball 7’

 Big East  commissioner Mike Aresco

Big East commissioner Mike Aresco

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Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said Monday the conference will remain viable despite the departure of seven non-football playing members, adding a new television deal for the conference could be announced soon despite the split.

Aresco spoke at the Middlesex County (Conn.) Chamber of Commerce, saying talks with the departing seven schools have been ``amicable,’’ and repeated hopes the seven will continue scheduling some or all of the remaining members.

``They had their reasons and they wanted to get back to their roots as basketball-playing schools and we understand that,’’ he told reporters, repeating previous comments about the December decision of the seven schools, including DePaul.

Aresco, who was the executive vice president of programming at CBS Sports before being named commissioner in August, said a new television contract is in the works. The current television deal for basketball expires after this season.

``I can’t tell you exactly when [negotiations] will conclude, but we’re getting closer,’’ he told reporters. ``I think we could end up doing a deal with multiple networks. We just don’t know yet.’’

The departing seven schools—DePaul, Marquette, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova, Providence and St. John’s—already have hired former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson as their media consultant. He has begun fielding broadcast proposals from a number of networks.

The Big East wlll have 11 football members in 2015, but Aresco said the conference no longer would seek members west of Texas following decisions by Boise State and San Diego State to remain in the Mountain West. He added the league would challenge any attempt to relinquish its name to the departing seven schools.

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