Statements on Conference Alignment
Dec. 15, 2012
Statement from the presidents of the seven basketball member schools of the Big East conference
Statement from DePaul President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.
We always have enjoyed great athletic competitions with the schools in the Big East Conference and some of the rivalries go back to our time as an independent under Coach Ray Meyer. Our students, fans and supporters will benefit greatly in positioning ourselves with the other six institutions who have a common vision of success and of competing at the highest level.
At the same time, we are grateful for the many friendships and rivalries we enjoyed with new and old Big East members and wish all well as they continue forward.
Comments from athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto following men's basketball game against Northern Illinois on Dec. 16
DePaul is excited about this new path ahead. For us to be involved in a conference that is basketball-centric has always been the primary focus of our athletic program. We’ve really enjoyed our time with the BIG EAST and we have had great friendships and relationships and some really good rivalries with both the old members of the BIG EAST and some of the new ones that are coming into the conference. I think it became very apparent that this was a good time for us to take stock and look at what all the options were. I think that our Presidents felt—and that our athletic directors agreed—that this was time in our history of each of our individual programs and collectively as a group that we could create something pretty special. That is the path that we are on at this point in time.
There isn’t any information to report about the BIG EAST name, the Madison Square Garden agreement, potential members—I know that everyone has questions about all of those things. For the time being, all of those are in the weeks and months ahead. Certainly, I think one of the things that the presidents are very much intentional about is the orderly separation or the orderly transition from the conference as it is currently constructed for the basketball schools and certainly wishing all the best to the continuing schools on the football side who will continue as a football conference.
On the Catholic component
From my perspective—and I think everything that I’ve heard in the conversations and discussions with my own President and the other Presidents—I don’t think they’re trying to create an all-Catholic league. I think they are trying to create a league that has outstanding basketball and certainly provides a good home for all of our other sports as well. The BIG EAST from the basketball schools has had a lot of success in a variety of other sports as well. We are talking about athletic programs that have made substantial commitments to intercollegiate athletics and substantial commitments to excellence in intercollegiate athletics. I think that is why we feel this is a good time because we can create something really special. Not only will we have outstanding men’s and women’s basketball but I think we’ll be really good in soccer and in volleyball, in softball, tennis, track and golf and all of the other sports that we sponsor.
On being a member of the BIG EAST
On the geography component
I think the fact that we have New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., the Boston-Providence area is very telling—and certainly Milwaukee. We haven’t really said anything to the extent that we are going to look for more mega markets. I think we are going to look for markets that really support college basketball and that have teams and programs, programs that are established with a high level of success, regardless of market. Often times you can find somebody that is in a smaller market but their television ratings are outstanding, maybe within their own market or nationally. I think we’d be remised if we said we were only going to look at basketball-playing institutions from bigger markets.
On expanding past a seven-team league
On the steps going forward
On looking to hire a league commissioner
One of the things that has really impressed me the most about our presidents is the great sensitivity that they’ve had to making an orderly transition. We have kind of been in a situation as this group of basketball schools where a lot of the transition has just sort of happened or occurred. I think that’s one of the things that they have been really sensitive about is to make sure that they are respectful of everyone’s circumstances and situations going forward. That is one of the reasons why the conference is looking to leave as a group of seven and still leave intact the opportunity for football to go ahead and forge their way, start anew with their new commitment.
Comments on conference alignment from men's basketball coach Oliver Purnell following Northern Illinois game on Dec. 16
With the history of the BIG EAST, the storied history and tradition of BIG EAST basketball, I just like the fact that our schools are being proactive and moving in a direction that I think, will be just great. I have always said that DePaul will be fine because we will be in a terrific basketball league and nothing that has transpired in the last week or so that has changed my mind. In fact, it’s just affirmed what I have thought all along.
I am feeling pretty positive about it. I haven’t focused on a lot of it—I have talked to Jean (Lenti Ponsetto) about it, you know, a bunch coming and going but she’s clearly been focused on it and I think all of the presidents and ADs are moving this thing in the right direction. That’s my take on it.
Comments on conference alignment from women’s basketball coach Doug Bruno following Northern Illinois game on Dec. 15
When you’ve done this as long as I have, the rivalries and traditions at DePaul University go back to Marquette, Notre Dame, Dayton. We always played Georgetown, we always played St. John’s and the basketball teams that are the “Catholic seven.” That’s really the basic rivalries we’ve always had and those will continue.
- MEN'S SPORTS
- WOMEN'S SPORTS
- Ticket Office
- BUY TICKETS NOW
- Wintrust Arena Fan Guide
- Student Ticket Information
- Student Bus Schedule
- Varsity Sports Tickets
- Seating Charts
- Athletics Department
- Academic Advising
- Athletics Development
- Athletics Director
- Blue Crew
- Corporate Sponsorships
- General Releases
- Spirit Squads
- Sports Medicine