Redesigned Big East Conference officially goes live

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

The revamped Big East Conference officially went live today, July 1, months after nearly breaking down, because of the lure of big-money college football.

“While we have much to do in the months ahead to bring the conference office to full operating capacity, I’m confident that we will create a first-class organization we can all be proud of and that will fully support the work of our member schools,” said newly appointed league Commissioner Val Ackerman in a release.

Earlier this year seven schools known as the “Catholic Seven” split from the former Big East,” because numerous schools interested in stronger football conferences were breaking away. The seven schools, St. John’s University, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall and Villanova vowed to redesigned the Big East and refocus the league back to basketball and they recruited three new members–Butler, Creighton and Xavier.

Prominent members of the conference announced they were breaking away from the conference earlier this year including founding member Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburg, Rutgers and Notre Dame.

In 1978 Providence College Athletic Director Dave Gavitt met with St. John’s Athletic Director Jack Kaiser and Georgetown Athletic Director Frank Reinzo to discuss about making the conference focusing on strong basketball competition. A year later with Syracuse Athletic Director Jake Crouthamel the league was created.

“Now, nearly 35 years later, the Big East is poised to build on its heritage and bring a new wave of excitement to the student-athletes, coaches, students, faculty, administrators, alumni and loyal fans of its ten distinguished schools,” Ackerman said.

Fox Sports 1, which will launch as a new Fox sports network on August 17, announced a deal to broadcast the Big East in a joint press conference in March.

“We are very excited about our long-term television contract with FOX Sports and its new cable network, FOX Sports 1, which will allow us to nationally air a wide range of BIG EAST basketball games, as well as other conference events,” Ackerman said.

The Big East will establish its headquarters in New York City and continue to host its famed basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden.

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