March 8, 2013
Release courtesy BIG EAST Conference
Big East Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco today announced that after several weeks of cordial and professional discussions, a definitive agreement has been reached that will enable a mutually-beneficial separation of some of the league's current members and allow an orderly formation of a new conference by the seven basketball schools. The separation will become effective on July 1, 2013.
The agreement, which remains subject to formal Board approval, contemplates continued cooperation and playing opportunities between the conferences.
"I am pleased that this agreement has been reached," said Aresco. "With the long-term well-being of our outstanding institutions and their student-athletes of paramount importance, each group worked through a number of complex issues in an orderly, comprehensive and amicable manner marked by mutual respect. We part ways as friends and colleagues and look forward to the success of both conferences."
The Presidents of the seven basketball universities released the following statement regarding their formal separation: "We are grateful to Commissioner Michael Aresco for spearheading an agreement that truly represents the best path forward for each of our great institutions and the thousands of student-athletes who compete for our schools annually. It is a great credit to Mike, our colleagues, and all involved that we were able to work through a host of highly complex and time-sensitive issues in such a short period of time. We are pleased that we reached this amicable and mutually-beneficial separation by approaching each issue with a spirit of cooperation and shared respect."
Comment from Larry Williams, Marquette VP & Director of Athletics
"After many months of thoughtful dialogue with the presidents and athletic directors of the other six basketball schools, we are excited to start this new era of excellence in intercollegiate athletics - a move that will allow us to enhance the elite status of our athletic programs, led by men's basketball. We look forward to taking this positive step toward ensuring that all our student athletes continue to compete at the highest levels. I want to personally thank Father Pilarz for his leadership in this transition, as well as our loyal fans for their unwavering enthusiasm and support."