University of Memphis joins Big East conference in 2013

The University of Memphis has officially been added as a full-time member of the Big East conference, according to Commissioner John Marinatto.

“Over the past decade, the University of Memphis has demonstrated an unwavering commitment of competing at the highest level in college sports,” Marinatto said. “The University has positioned itself for long-term success by upgrading facilities and investing wisely in various areas of the athletic department, including coaching and administration.”

The Tigers are the seventh school to be added to the conference in the last two months, following the September announcement that Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia are leaving.

Memphis currently offers 19 sports, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s soccer. The program has won 17 Conference-USA championships in the last eight years.

“This is an exciting day for Tiger athletics,” Memphis Athletics Director R.C. Johnson said. “Many years ago we set as a departmental goal the task of being the best that we could be in every athletic endeavor. With today’s invitation to join many of our friends in such a prestigious conference means we have achieved one of our top missions.”

The men’s basketball team is also considered a national power. The Tigers have made three NCAA Final Four appearances, losing in the finals twice, most recently in 2008. Overall, the team has played in 23 NCAA tournaments, and also won the 2002 NIT title.

Memphis plays its home games at the FedEx Forum, which has hosted NCAA regionals for men’s and women’s basketball.

“We are confident that the addition of this outstanding athletics program located in a top 50 media market and in the heart of the nation’s largest conference footprint will further propel the Big East and the University of Memphis to even greater levels of success in the future,” Marinatto said.

Academically, the Tigers had a school record 217 student-athletes achieve a 3.0 GPA in Fall 2011, according to the Big East.

The Tigers are 3-1 against the Seton Hall men’s basketball team all-time. The Tigers women’s basketball team hosted the Pirates for the first time on Dec. 30 and won 82-73.

Memphis will begin Big East competition in 2013.

Tim LeCras can be reached at timothy.lecras@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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