Starting next year, Seton Hall and the other members of the “Catholic 7” will leave the Big East and begin playing in their own athletic conference centered around basketball.
“It’s incredible how excited everybody is,” Athletic Director Patrick Lyons said. “It’s a chance to get back to our roots, a chance to be back in a conference with members that have a shared vision and all want the same thing for the conference.”
Despite leaving the Big East, part of the terms of the deal reached between the departing and current members of the conference will allow the “Catholic 7” to take the Big East name and annual men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden with them.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” Lyons said. “I couldn’t be more excited to be going into this new chapter with the new Big East with the people we are going in with and the people we are bringing in.”
Along with Seton Hall DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s and Villanova are making the move from the Big East. Xavier, Butler and Creighton are also likely to be added within the next seven to ten days, according to ESPN.com.
The addition of these three schools will give the conference 10 members when it starts operation on July 1.
Conference realignment over the past few seasons have left question marks for every school involved, but now Seton Hall finally knows where they will be in the future.
“I was surprised at it, but it also shows the collegiality between the current Big East and our side to really want to come to an applicable solution that would work for everybody,” Lyons said. “I know it sounds clich?© but everybody put the athletes first. One thing you didn’t want was the athletes being involved in it next year going through it knowing they were leaving.”
President Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban sent an email out to the Seton Hall community regarding this change.
“The new conference will best position Seton Hall University and our student-athletes to succeed and to grow both academically and athletically,” Esteban said. “Seton Hall played a role in the founding of the Big East more than 30 years ago, and we feel that this move will help to transform us and our peer institutions into a powerhouse basketball conference for the next 30 years and beyond.”
Stephen Valenti can be reached at email@example.com.