NOTE: The following letter comes from BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman.
July 1, 2013
Dear BIG EAST Supporters:
With today marking the first official day of operation for the new BIG EAST Conference, I wanted to take this opportunity to greet everyone associated with the conference and its member schools and express how honored I am to assume the role of Commissioner.
What’s old is new again as we return to the BIG EAST’s roots and the vision of founding Commissioner Dave Gavitt, who created the conference in 1979 to showcase outstanding basketball, spirited competition and passionate rivalries. Now, nearly 35 years later, the BIG EAST is poised to build on its heritage and bring a new wave of excitement to the student-athletes, coaches, students, faculty, administrators, alumni and loyal fans of its ten distinguished schools.
With newcomers Butler, Creighton and Xavier joining conference stalwarts DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova, the new BIG EAST will offer top-flight academic programs and rigorous athletic competition to nearly 2,500 student-athletes in 22 sports. We are very excited about our long-term television contract with FOX Sports and its new cable network, FOX SPORTS 1, which will allow us to nationally air a wide range of BIG EAST basketball games, as well as other conference events. We also look forward to establishing our headquarters in New York City and continuing to stage the BIG EAST basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden, both of which will assure us a presence in the country’s biggest media market.
While we have much to do in the months ahead to bring the conference office to full operating capacity, I’m confident that we will create a first-class organization we can all be proud of and that will fully support the work of our member schools. I’m especially grateful to our ten Athletics Directors and their staffs, whose excellent work over the past three months has allowed us to hit the ground running today.
I look forward to meeting many of you as I travel to our campuses in the coming months, and I thank you for your continued support as the BIG EAST starts this exciting new era.