The ‘Big East’ name is being taken by the ‘Catholic 7′ basketball schools as they embark upon a new, hardwood-only league on June 30. Thus, the football schools of the fractured conference must have a new name by July 1, and currently the ‘America 12′ is the frontrunner, according to ESPN.
While the league is, according to several sources, continuing to mull over several names, due-diligence has already been taken on ‘America 12′. Even as the conference prepares to officially announce the split between what is now the Big East (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova) and the rest of the conference on Friday, the league’s lawyers, Covington & Burling, purchased and registered the domain name America12.org.
The firm has also purchased the rights to America12Conference.com, America12Sports.com, American12.org, American12conference.com, AmericaTwelve.com and TheAmerica12Conference.com — so, yeah, if they do decide to go with the name, they’re covered, and if not, well, they’ve got a bunch of random domain names to kick it with.
Currently, the Big 12 has 10 teams in it, and the Big Ten has 12 and will be moving to 14. Their names do not jive with their actual team rosters, and ironically, the ‘America 12′ wouldn’t either.
The league will only play with 10 schools in 2013. Tulane and East Carolina join in 2014, but they will be replacing Louisville and Rutgers, keeping the number the same.
Finally, when Navy joins in 2015, the conference plans to bring in a second program to form two balanced divisions at six schools apiece. By all accounts, Tulsa is the only school being considered as its 12th member, and the Golden Hurricane would jump at the chance to bump up from Conference USA.
The new moniker would serve the new brand extremely well. League commissioner Mike Aresco came under fire a year or two ago in trying to extend the ‘Big East’ brand out to Boise and San Diego State, respectively. His goal was to form a nationwide, television marketplace juggernaut (thus why Tulane was included from New Orleans in spite of a poor athletic department at the moment), but think of the divisions: Would Boise State have been playing in the Big East West division? Would East Carolina be listed in the Big East East?
This new name — should it be made official — will allow the league to begin to develop a national identity, one that currently spans from Connecticut and down to NOLA with several big-time markets located in between.
Once the name and the split from the Big East are all taken care of, the conference will be able to focus on a far bigger issue: That of actually winning football games.