Xavier University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., announced today that Xavier is joining a 10-team conference with fellow private schools Butler, Creighton,DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Villanova.
The conference will be officially named the Big East on July 1.
“It’s an endorsement of who we are and how we’ve gotten here, as well as where we can go next,” said Michael J. Graham, S.J., president of Xavier University.
Xavier says the move will bring additional exposure and a big boost for Xavier University admissions, alumni and fundraising efforts across the nation. “So it’s not just about athletics it’s about the whole institution and about the institution at its heart, which is an academic place,” Fr. Graham said.
Xavier’s 18-sport athletic program has sent eight different teams to NCAA postseason championships in recent years: baseball,men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s golf, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.
Presidents of the New Big East member schools, including Fr. Graham, gathered in New York Wednesday to announce a series of seminal developments that will help shape the basketball-focused conference, including an unprecedented partnership with Fox Sports that will grant the network exclusive broadcast rights.
Fox Sports and its Fox Sports 1 Network will acquire television rights to all Big East game action, as part of a 12-year contract. Under the broadcast partnership, Fox Sports will own television rights to a wide range of marquee Big East basketball games, including the annual Big East conference tournament.
The Big East Conference will officially commence operations on July 1, 2013. Each of the inaugural members will be full conference participants starting in the 2013-2014 academic year. Each school will compete in all of the sports it offers today.
The Big East Tournament will continue to call Madison Square Garden its home, and the new conference will assume an existing lease agreement that extends to 2026.
Xavier has been a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference for 18 years, beginning with the 1995-96 school year. Previously, Xavier was a member of the MCC (now known as the Horizon League) from 1979-80 through 1994-95. For a brief three-year period, 1983-86, Xavier’s women’s sports competed in the North Star Conference.