Out with the old, in with the new.
In the latest installment of conference musical chairs, the Big East announced on Wednesday that three programs—Butler and Xavier from the Atlantic 10 and Creighton via the Missouri Valley Conference—will join the current seven Catholic schools (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova) which are departing from the old conference as league affiliates for the 2013-14 campaign.
The new conference, which officially takes form on July 1, will be a basketball-centric league which is also equipped with a 12-year television contract with Fox Sports.
“Today we launch the new Big East,” cited Rev. Brian Shanley, president of Providence College, according to ESPN.com. “We wanted schools with strong sustainable and sustained athletic programs. And we wanted schools that could really play good basketball, because that’s really the bread and butter of the Big East. And when we examined all the schools that we thought about, we came to the conclusion that the three schools seated here among us today were the best schools that we could possibly ask to join the Big East.”
Indeed, as Butler, Creighton and Xavier have combined for 13 seasons of at least 20 victories; 17 wins in the NCAA tournament; two Final Four berths; and zero losing campaigns, respectively, over the past five years.
As is the status quo within the ranks of college athletics, however, Shanley cited that the conference has and will continue to engage in discussions regarding future expansion opportunities.
“We’re 10 for next year. We know that for sure,” noted Shanley, as reported by ESPN.com. “Whether and how we get to 12 [programs] is negotiable between us and our partners, and we’ve discussed actively a number of schools that are really strong partners for us.
“We also believe that the landscape of college sports has not stopped morphing and that there may be some more movement out there. So for now we’re very happy at 10, and we’ll see what happens going forward.”