After a week of speculation, the breakup is now official: DePaul is joining six other Big East schools that don’t play football and bolting the Big East Conference to pursue a new basketball league.
The presidents of the seven schools (DePaul, Georgetwon, St. John’s, Villanova, Marquette, Seton Hall and Providence) released their announcement Saturday, saying it was a unanimous vote.
Here is the statement released by those officials, who also have scheduled a news conference at 4:30 p.m. today.
“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. “
DePaul and Marquette joined the Big East in 2005.
The decision leaves Connecticut, a founding member of the league in 1979, Cincinnati and South Florida — three current members with FBS football programs — uncertain about their futures.
The Big East is still lined up to have a 12-team football conference next season with six new members joining, including Boise State and San Diego State for football only. Rutgers and Louisville, which both announced intentions to leave the Big East, are still expected to compete in the conference next year. Rutgers is headed to the Big Ten.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.