The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

March 8, 2013

Big East completes football-basketball breakup

(Continued)

Next up on the agenda for the football schools, Aresco said, is to find a 12th member and venues for future basketball tournaments.

The settlement will bring the Big East back to its origins. When it was formed in 1979, it banded together a group of mostly small, mostly private schools located in and around Northeast cities.

"I don't mean to speak for all seven schools, but the schools that are breaking off, we're excited to start a new chapter," said Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III, whose father led the Hoyas to three Final Four appearances in the 1980s.

"The Big East has been something that has been special to me personally and to everyone that's been involved with it. But we're in an era of change, and as much as that one segment, that one era, that one time of the Big East, will always be special, will always mean a lot ... it's time for change."

The seven schools breaking away from the football schools include some of the Big East's founding members and most recognizable teams: Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, Marquette and DePaul. They are expected to sign a television rights deal with Fox, add at least two more schools and start competing in the 2013 fall semester.

"We are grateful to Commissioner Mike 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," the presidents of the seven basketball schools said in a joint statement.

The football conference now known as the Big East will consist next season of Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Temple, Rutgers and Louisville, along with incoming members Memphis, Central Florida, SMU and Houston.

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