New Big East adds three schools, will begin play this fall

bev_prim4c copyUpdate, 6:55 pm: President Jack DeGioia officially announced the formation of the league in an email to students. “This is an extraordinary time for the Big East, and we couldn’t have wished for a better start to our new future. We have ten incredible schools, have retained our storied name, and have solid partnerships with FOX Sports and Madison Square Garden,” he said. “We look forward to our continued work together, to strengthening our relationships, and to the truly exceptional future that this will set for our athletics programs.”

Original Post: Georgetown athletic teams are set to play in a new league this fall, albeit under the same name. The “Catholic seven schools,” Georgetown among them, announced their departure from the old Big East conference last December over concerns that the desertion of its central members, such as Syracuse and Pittsburgh, would damage the standing of the league in in the long term.

The new league will retain the Big East name and add Xavier, Butler, and Creighton as full members. Conference play will begin next year, the 2013-2014 academic year. The new league also reportedly signed a 12-year $500 million deal with Fox Sports. The annual Big East tournament will still be played in Madison Square Garden.

“Today we relaunch the Big East,” said Rev. Brian Shanley, the president of Providence College, at a news conference in Manhattan. “We go back to being a basketball-centric … league going forward. … We looked for schools that had academic profiles like us. We wanted schools with strong sustainable and sustained athletic programs. And we wanted schools that could play really good basketball, because that’s really the bread and butter of the Big East.”

The league will begin operations on July 1 and the schools are in the process of searching for a new athletic director. Apparently, expansion to 12 members in coming seasons in possible. President Jack DeGioia has acknowledged that he has heard from “quite a few schools.”

Image courtesy Big East communications department.

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