Statement Issued Regarding Basketball Members of BIG EAST Conference

Dec. 15, 2012

WASHINGTON - December 15, 2012

Statement from the presidents of the seven basketball member schools of the Big East conference

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.

Director of Athletics Lee Reed

On why this move is in Georgetown's best interest...
I think after a lot of consideration, keeping a careful eye on the national landscape as it relates to conference realignment, what our history has been, I think we were wanting to get to a place where there was a focus on where we are and what we are philosophically in terms of our model of intercollegiate athletics.

On if it was a difficult decision for the seven schools...
We've been associated with the BIG EAST Conference since its beginning in 1979 and all of the decisions that we make are never taken lightly. There has been thoughtful consideration to our membership in the BIG EAST Conference, what that has meant to us, Georgetown University, and they are never easy decisions, but we thought it was the right time to make this decision and move forward with the other six non-football playing members of the conference.



On if the non-revenue sports will be included with the basketball programs in a new structure...
It will be complete department.

On if the seven schools are leaving the BIG EAST name behind...
I think what the statement basically says is within the structure of the BIG EAST Conference, we have the opportunity, as a group, to exercise a right to, in an orderly fashion, separate from the conference. The details of all of the questions that you are thinking about, those things have been considered, but now is certainly not the time to discuss those in a public setting.

On if the move is more philosophical, financial or both...
I think a combination of both. I think you always consider, for us, putting our student-athletes at the highest level competitively. Exposure has been important to us, but stability in terms of our model of intercollegiate athletics, our broad-based model that is basketball-centric that's something that's important to us. That has defined us for well over a generation. We're committed to doing that, we're committed to pursuing that and I think this new structure provides us the best opportunity right now, moving forward, to do that.

On if travel is a consideration with the new structure...
I think those things have been considered, will continue to be considered, but it's probably too early to comment. We will continue to think about the impact it has on all of our student-athletes, our coaches and our institution.

On if football will move from the Patriot League...
No, the football team is in the Patriot League.

On if there is anything BIG EAST Commissioner Michael Aresco could have done to dissuade the move...
I think we have been focused on what we've tried to accomplish in this. It's hard to tell what he might have been able to do. For us, after multiple conversations and a lot of thought, we think it's time for us to do what we're doing, both as Georgetown University and with the other six institutions.

On how long this has been in the works...
I don't want to talk much about the process at this time. I don't think it's really important. I think what's important is we're excited about where we're headed, we're excited that we will still have our student-athletes compete at the very highest level. Academically

On if there was something specific about this time to make this decision...
There is really no best time, no perfect time for this decision, but we felt this was the right time for us to do this.

On if it was important for Georgetown to align itself with "philosophically similar" schools given the instability of college athletics...
I would say that that is something we have thought about. Our priorities are for our student-athletes to be able to compete at the highest levels and providing them with the exposure and the platform that they need to do that and stability defined as Georgetown University having a basketball-centric, 29-sport, broad-based athletic program, so that's where we start and finish all of our conversations.

On media reports that characterized Georgetown as "more reluctant to make this move as a charter member"...
I don't think that's the case. I think we will always be very thoughtful and deliberate in any decision that we make that has an impact on Georgetown University, so we've done that. I wouldn't characterize it on us being slow to the table. In fact, I would go a step further, I am fortunate, we are fortunate, this institution and community is fortunate to have the leadership we have in President DeGioia. Having somebody who has been at the institution since the mid-70's and has been involved in intercollegiate athletics since the mid-80's, who serves on the Knight Commission, who has put us in a position, to again, be the Georgetown that we are today, I think that is a benefit. So again, we feel really good about where we are, the process we took to get to this point. A lot of work is left to be done, we've talked about it, it's probably the third inning of a nine inning game, so there is a lot of work left to be done.

On if they will be looking to grow the membership and if there is a target number...
No, there is no target number. I think it's safe to say that at the right time those things will be discussed and dealt with.

On if there was a specific tipping point that led to this decision...
No, I think it's been just watching the whole thing unfold. We've tried to assess every in how it relates to the BIG EAST Conference, but also to how it relates specifically to Georgetown University, so not one thing made us make this decision.

On other options that were available...
It is our responsibility to do our due diligence to put the University, to put our athletics program and to put our student-athletes and coaches in the best position possible and right now we feel this is the best position possible. Right now, we feel this is our best opportunity to continue to excel in our broad-based, basketball-centric model. It's given us a lot of success and we're proud of it and we're excited about the future.

Head Coach John Thompson III

On his thoughts on the decision...
As I said the other day, this is a decision that is not an emotional decision. Getting to this point had nothing to do with Georgetown's position as a charter member and not wanting to pull apart because of those ties and allegiances. I think at this point, based on the collegiate landscape our leadership believes this is the right thing to do and we believe this is the right thing to do. I'm excited about where we are going to go. There are a lot of questions that still need to be answered, there are a lot of questions that we probably know the answer to, but are not ready to share publicly. This is a new phase that we're excited to be a part of.

On if he likes the conference being basketball-centric.
I'm glad to hear you guys acknowledge the common philosophical link is not religion, its basketball. I've felt comfortable with that. Georgetown has never changed in that regard, regardless of whom we've been in a conference with or who we will be in a conference with and I think that that's something that's been important. I said this the other day, we're Georgetown. Part of what you guys do in clumping us all together, as much as we're all stepping out here together, we are very different from the other six schools.

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