The departure of the seven Catholic Big East basketball schools from the league appears to be inching toward inevitability.
"I think it's certain the seven schools will leave, barring some substantial financial or legal impediment," a source with direct knowledge of the situation told SI.com.
Officials from the seven schools have been in daily contact about their potential departure, with another conference call scheduled for Thursday. There are a number of issues that still need to be resolved, but their discussions include securing legal representation, financial advising and television consulting help regarding their departure.
The new conference would likely be a 12-team basketball-based league, although the five new schools to be added to the group of Villanova, Marquette, Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall and DePaul are not certain right now.
A cadre of Atlantic-10 schools, including Xavier, Butler, Dayton, St. Louis, along with Creighton of the Missouri Valley Conference are the most likely candidates.