May 6, 2014
WASHINGTON - Georgetown University Head Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson III was among several league coaches as the BIG EAST and Big Ten Conferences announced the establishment of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an annual early-season series of eight men's basketball games played between the two conferences and named in honor of Dave Gavitt, founder of the BIG EAST and a basketball visionary.
The Gavitt Tipoff Games will be played on four consecutive days in the first full week of the college basketball season. The series begins at the start of the 2015-16 season and will span eight years, with games played at home sites. The unique series between the two conferences is named to honor the late Gavitt, who had a profound and lasting influence on the sport of basketball on the collegiate, professional and Olympic levels. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
"Every year you're going to have a tough opponent, a tough game," Thompson said. "I think both leagues will benefit from it. You'll be tested early, so if you take some lumps you've got time to learn from learn from it, so it will be a very positive thing. The beauty of this challenge, the beauty of this union, is that when you look from top to bottom in the BIG EAST and the Big 10, they're all great programs and no matter who they put you against, it's going to be a great game."
The press conference announcing the series was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City and was emceed by Fox Sports 1 announcer Bill Raftery, who introduced BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman first.
"We look forward to partnering with the Big Ten to stage a new series of basketball games among our schools and to pay homage to Dave Gavitt, the BIG EAST's founder, who was an inspiration to many of us and one of the most impactful contributors in the sport of basketball," Ackerman said. "We have natural connections with the Big Ten through our shared geographic regions, and these competitions promise some exciting new rivalries for our players, coaches and alumni. With March Madness, college basketball always ends with a flourish, and the Gavitt Tipoff Games will allow us to open the season with a bang as well."
"On behalf of the entire Gavitt family, we are humbled and grateful for this incredible honor in Dave's memory from the Big Ten and Big East Conferences," said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Vice President of Men's Basketball Championships and son of Dave Gavitt. "My father would love the spirit of creativity and friendship that these games represent to tip off the college basketball season. He would be most excited about the competitive experience that the games offer to the players and coaches of two great conferences."
"We are excited to honor Dave Gavitt and his contributions to the sport of basketball through the establishment of the Gavitt Tipoff Games," said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. "Dave was a friend and a mentor to me and often mentioned that college basketball should do a better job of tipping off the season, similar to opening day in baseball. I think he would approve of our effort to start a new tipoff tradition, grow the game and serve the best interests of the student-athletes and coaches in these two great conferences."
The Gavitt Tipoff Games will feature four home contests each for BIG EAST and Big Ten schools on an annual basis from 2015 through 2022. Two games will be played on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the first full week of each season. Each BIG EAST team will participate a minimum of six times over the eight years, while Big Ten programs will participate a minimum of four times.
Television coverage of the Gavitt Tipoff Games will be controlled by the conference of the home team. BIG EAST home games will be telecast by FOX Sports 1, while Big Ten home matchups will appear on ESPN or BTN.
Teams from both conferences already meet in some traditional rivalry games, and those matchups will continue during the 2014-15 season. The full schedule of eight games will be announced in late spring of each year.