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posted 12.13.2012 at 10.23 a.m. by Corey McLaughlin

Conference Realignment Watch: Big East's Future and Movement in NEC, MAAC

updated 12.15.12 at 10.44 a.m.

The wheel of conference realignment keeps on turning.

Multiple reports indicate that the seven Big Ten schools that don't play big-time college football — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova — plan to split from the conference.

ESPN and the New York Post have reported the news, citing sources, that the presidents of those seven schools had a teleconference with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco on Thursday morning.

ESPN updated its report late Thursday night, saying the seven schools have agreed to leave the Big East and are debating plans about how to proceed. Aresco told athletic directors of the remaining and incoming Big East schools that he expects the seven schools to leave.

What it would mean for lacrosse: The situation is so fluid and there are still many unknowns. Does the Big East dissolve? Does this group of teams seek to join another conference, like the Atlantic 10, in bulk? Nonetheless, any moves will impact the lacrosse world.

As the conference landscape stands now, after a flurry of moves over the last month, the Big East men's lacrosse conference is slated to have only five teams by the spring of 2015 and the women's conference six, with the addition of Temple as a full member this July. Syracuse started the exodus with its decision to join the ACC after this season and Notre Dame will follow at a date to be determined.

All five of the men's teams — Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's and Villanova — are linked to these reports, as are four women's schools with programs — Georgetown, Marquette, Temple and 'Nova. The future of Big East lacrosse is unclear.

NEC, MAAC Movement

The nine Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) school presidents met Friday to discuss expansion, and the conference later announced that Monmouth and Quinnipiac will join the MAAC for the 2013-14 season. 

With Loyola, which played lacrosse in the ECAC (men) and Big East (women), leaving its MAAC affiliation for the Patriot League for 2013-14, the MAAC would have decreased in number to nine schools.

What it means for lacrosse: 2013 is set to be the first year for the NEC men's tournament winner to earn an automatic qualifying berth to the NCAA tournament. The loss of Monmouth and Quinnipiac in 2014 will drop the league below the minimum number of six needed to sustain AQ status. The women's NEC would be down to eight.

The MAAC men's league currently includes seven members: Canisius, Detroit, Jacksonville, Manhattan, Marist, Siena and VMI. The women's league features Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Niagara and Siena.

Check back to LaxMagazine.com for more on this story as it develops.