Big East, so-called ‘Catholic 7’ officially announce intention to separate

Over the past 33 years, Georgetown and Syracuse have been one of the most contentious rivalries in college basketball, but as Syracuse prepares to leave the Big East conference for the ACC and Georgetown moves to the Catholic 7 next year, former players, coaches, journalists and alumni recall the history of the rivalry. (Jayne Orenstein/The Washington Post)

Releasing statements Friday that were short on specifics and heavy on collegiality, the Big East and the seven basketball-centered splinter schools — the so-called “Catholic 7” — formally announced their agreement to part ways on July 1.

The statements, issued by Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco and the presidents of DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. Johns, Seton Hall and Villanova, made no reference to terms of their legal separation. But according to people familiar with the agreement, the breakaway schools won the right to call their new conference the Big East and hold their postseason men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden, in keeping with tradition of the league that was founded in 1979.

Below is the statements in their entirety:

PROVIDENCE - Big East Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco today announced that after several weeks of cordial and professional discussions, a definitive agreement has been reached that will enable a mutually-beneficial separation of the league’s current members and allow an orderly formation of a new conference by the seven basketball schools. The separation will become effective on July 1, 2013.

The agreement, which remains subject to formal Board approval, contemplates continued cooperation and playing opportunities between the conferences.

“I am pleased that this agreement has been reached,” said Aresco. “With the long-term well-being of our outstanding institutions and their student-athletes of paramount importance, each group worked through a number of complex issues in an orderly, comprehensive and amicable manner marked by mutual respect. We part ways as friends and colleagues and look forward to the success of both conferences.”

The Presidents of the seven basketball universities released the following statement regarding their formal separation: “We are grateful to Commissioner Michael Aresco for spearheading an agreement that truly represents the best path forward for each of our great institutions and the thousands of student-athletes who compete for our schools annually. It is a great credit to Mike, our colleagues, and all involved that we were able to work through a host of highly complex and time-sensitive issues in such a short period of time. We are pleased that we reached this amicable and mutually-beneficial separation by approaching each issue with a spirit of cooperation and shared respect.”

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post, she has also covered five Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Sports
Stats, scores and schedules

Every story. Every feature. Every insight.

Yours for as low as JUST 99¢!

Not Now