Xavier announces move to Big East

Published: Mar. 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2013 at 3:48 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Xavier University announced Wednesday that it's leaving the Atlantic 10 and joining fellow private schools in a new Big East conference.

"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 joined the Atlantic 10 in 1995 and has played in that conference since.

Butler, Creighton and Xavier will join the so-called Catholic 7 schools in the new basketball conference keeping the Big East name.

The three schools will join Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, Seton Hall, Providence, Marquette and DePaul to form a new league for next season.

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 a 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.

Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade released the following statement on the departure of Xavier and Butler: "I wish Xavier University and Butler University all the best in their new conference. They are two outstanding universities with outstanding people; our partnership has been mutually beneficial and successful. As a longtime strong A-10 member, Xavier's departure is unfortunate. Butler's departure is a by-product of the chaotic conference realignment environment. BU's association with the A-10 has been a fun ride this year; no regrets from the Atlantic 10 for providing a home for them during the 2012-13 season."

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