Best Answer
In short, they didn't. (The upshot answer is in boldface type in the last paragraph.) The fuller story is this.

The original Big East teams were schools that were seeking a competitive NCAA Division I Basketball conference. Almost all of the original (1979) member schools were Catholic institutions located in Eastern seaboard states and Washington, DC: Boston College (MA), Providence (RI), St. John's (NY), Seton Hall (NJ) and Georgetown (DC). The other two original members were Syracuse (NY) and Connecticut, both non-Catholic

schools. Villanova

(PA), a Catholic school joined in the conference's second year. Pittsburgh (PA), a non-Catholic

school joined in the conference's fourth season. Other schools were added through the years, both Catholic and not.

By the turn of the century, the economics of college athletics had brought about the need to provide a competitive program for those schools also fielding Division I football teams. This led to the inclusion of other schools, some Catholic and some not. The additional schools often were not even in the Eastern seaboard states. Some of the member schools opted to leave the Big East for conferences that were already competitive in both basketball and football (e.g.,

Boston College to the Atlantic Coast Conference)

In 2012, as the few remaining schools in the Big East with Division I football teams began accepting offers from other established conferences, the conference was left with a de


dispersal. Since original Catholic

members Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Georgetownwere among those not leaving for another conference and fellow Catholic member schools Marquette, DePaul

and Villanova

were in the same situation, they opted to return to the conference's original concept as a Division I basketballconference and reasonably claimed title to the name of that conference. To bolster the conference's strength, those schools have invited a few other similar schools to join-- and for the most part, Catholic colleges don't field Division I NCAA teams.

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Q: Why did the catholic colleges kick everybody else out of the big east?
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