“New” Big East becomes official
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
What Friar fans have been waiting for - has finally happened.
After several years of hanging on in a Big East Conference that was largely driven by football-related decisions, the "new" Big East emerged from a news conference Wednesday in New York, where the Presidents of the "Catholic 7" schools (Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova, Marquette, DePaul and Georgetown) and the Fox Television Network announced their new partnership.
Additionally, the additions of Xavier and Butler - long anticipated but never officially announced - were made official as the two schools become Numbers 8 and 9 on the roster of the Big East.
"I wish Xavier University and Butler University all the best in their new conference," said Bernadette McGlade, commissioner of the Atlantic-10 Conference. "They are two outstanding universities with outstanding people; our partnership has been mutually beneficial and successful. As a longtime strong A-10 member, Xavier's departure is unfortunate. Butler's departure is a by-product of the chaotic conference realignment environment. BU's association with the A-10 has been a fun ride this year; no regrets from the Atlantic 10 for providing a home for them during the 2012-13 season."
Creighton, a long-standing member of the Missouri Valley Conference, also was announced as the 10th team to join the Big East for the 2013-14 academic year.
Also anticipated and announced was the 12-year agreement between the Big East and Fox Sports 1, set to launch in August of 2013. Worth upwards of $600 million, the media rights deal will be worth in excess of $4 million per year per school, and may be worth more if the league expands to 12 teams.
“We applaud all the Big East schools for taking responsibility for their own destiny and forming what is clearly one of the top college basketball leagues in the country,” said Fox Sports President and COO Randy Freer. “The quality of the competition is obvious. Five teams who will play in the renewed Big East next season are playing in this year’s NCAA tournament, and seven qualified for postseason play overall. We’re extremely proud and fortunate to offer college basketball of this caliber on FS1 next season and for many seasons to come.”
Providence College President Brian Shanley presided over the news conference announcement in New York. "Today we launch the Big East. We reboot the Big East, in a sense...an urban mostly Catholic league and I think Dave (Gavitt, the original Big East founder) is mostly smiling down upon us today. We needed to expand. We had the luxury of alot of schools who wanted to join us. We wanted to be with schools who really believed in the old school student athlete. And when we examined all of the schools we thought about, the three schools seated with us today were the best suited to join the Big East - Butler, Xavier and Creighton. You add a lot to our conference family."
New York-based senior executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates is conducting the search for the new Big East’s first commissioner. No announcement on a commissioner for the Big East was made, however former Big East Associate Commissioner and current NCAA executive Dan Gavitt (also a former PC assistant coach and athletic director at Bryant) was mentioned as a potential candidate.
And if the Atlantic Coast Conference (or any other league) hoped to find a future post-season tournament home in New York, they'll perhaps need to look away from MSG. An extended arrangement with Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament was also announced, with an extension for the tournament to run through 2026.
Each school will compete in all of the sports it offers today. The new Big East will continue to invite and designate associate members, especially those from the current Big East schools, in a select group of sports, including lacrosse and field hockey.