Butler, Creighton and Xavier join Big East
Butler, Creighton and Xavier were announced as the newest members of the Big East on Wednesday, giving the conference 10 teams when it starts operation this summer.
In addition to these three schools being added, a 12 year TV contract with FOX on their upcoming station, FOX Sports 1, was announced at the press conference along with Madison Square Garden remaining host to the annual conference tournament.
“When I knew we were going to leave and separate and form this conference, I never would have envisioned all these dominos to fall into place, including being able to leave this July,” athletic director Patrick Lyons said. “It’s a home run.”
When searching for schools to join the new conference, Providence College President Brian J. Shanley said they wanted schools that were really good academically, believed in the old meaning of student-athlete and had sustained athletic success, only to add, “and schools that could play really good basketball, because that’s the bread and butter of the Big East.”
Butler has been the most successful recently reaching the NCAA Championship game in 2010 and 2011 only to fall short. Creighton has finished with over 20 victories in 14 of their past 15 seasons and has made eight NCAA Tournament appearances during that stretch. Over the past 10 years Xavier has reached the elite eight twice and the sweet 16 three times.
Now that the new conference has been formed, Seton Hall is finally in a stable conference for the first time since Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they were leaving the Big East for the ACC back in September 2011. Since then four other schools announced they were leaving and seven schools were added to the old conference.
“It gives stability which is something that has been lacking in college athletics,” University President Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban said. “Control over our future is very important and now we can focus on the big task which is building a new conference and focusing on the student athletes.”
Along with member stability comes a television contract that will annually televise over 100 men’s regular-season basketball games along with the entirety of the end of season conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. The garden will continue to be home to the Big East Tournament through 2025-26, despite the talks of the ACC looking to move their conference tournament to the venue.
“To have a great partner with FOX, to be in the Garden, there is really no downside,” Lyons said. “It’s a tremendous win, win. Something I could never have envisioned to happen like this.”
With fall sports beginning in August there is still a lot to be finalized but Esteban is excited along with the many alumni about the conference. He said that he has received more feedback on this issue than any other campus issue and, “I have yet to hear anything really negative about the Big East and the steps we are taking. I think everyone is excited about our future.”
The league will begin on July 1 with athletic competition beginning in the fall.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at email@example.com