Big East 'Basketball Schools' Vote to Pursue 'New Framework'

WASHINGTON - December 15, 2012 - Statement from the presidents of the seven basketball member schools of the Big East conference:

Earlier today we voted unanimously to pursue an orderly evolution to a foundation of basketball schools that honors the history and tradition on which the Big East was established. Under the current context of conference realignment, we believe pursuing a new basketball framework that builds on this tradition of excellence and competition is the best way forward.

We are grateful to our Commissioner, Michael Aresco, for his exceptional leadership of the Big East Conference. We have been honored to be associated with the outstanding group of institutions that have made up the Big East. While we pursue this opportunity for our institutions, we believe the efforts of the past two years have established the foundation for an enduring national football conference.

We look forward to building this new foundation with an emphasis on elite competition and a commitment to the development of our students engaged in intercollegiate athletics. That is where we will now spend our energy as we move forward.

Director of Athletics Lee Reed

On why this move is in Georgetown's best interest...
I think after a lot of consideration, keeping a careful eye on the national landscape as it relates to conference realignment, what our history has been, I think we were wanting to get to a place where there was a focus on where we are and what we are philosophically in terms of our model of intercollegiate athletics.

On if it was a difficult decision for the seven schools...
We've been associated with the Big East Conference since its beginning in 1979 and all of the decisions that we make are never taken lightly. There has been thoughtful consideration to our membership in the Big East Conference, what that has meant to us, Georgetown University, and they are never easy decisions, but we thought it was the right time to make this decision and move forward with the other six non-football playing members of the conference.

On if the non-revenue sports will be included with the basketball programs in a new structure...
It will be complete department.

On if the seven schools are leaving the Big East name behind...
I think what the statement basically says is within the structure of the Big East Conference, we have the opportunity, as a group, to exercise a right to, in an orderly fashion, separate from the conference. The details of all of the questions that you are thinking about, those things have been considered, but now is certainly not the time to discuss those in a public setting.

On if the move is more philosophical, financial or both...
I think a combination of both. I think you always consider, for us, putting our student-athletes at the highest level competitively. Exposure has been important to us, but stability in terms of our model of intercollegiate athletics, our broad-based model that is basketball-centric that's something that's important to us. That has defined us for well over a generation. We're committed to doing that, we're committed to pursuing that and I think this new structure provides us the best opportunity right now, moving forward, to do that.

On if travel is a consideration with the new structure...
I think those things have been considered, will continue to be considered, but it's probably too early to comment. We will continue to think about the impact it has on all of our student-athletes, our coaches and our institution.

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