Future Membership Timeline
The 2012-13 academic year is the 34th in the history of The BIG EAST Conference as the unique consortium marches on competing at the highest level with integrity and sportsmanship.
The BIG EAST has gone through membership changes since its birth and continues to make strides in improving the quality and depth of the storied league.
The BIG EAST Conference has been always been driven by lofty goals. The outstanding performances of the student-athletes at BIG EAST schools are evidence of the league’s proud tradition of success. The league has always been able to boast that many of its best students are also its best athletes.
The 2011-12 year was no different.
In the athletic arena, BIG EAST student-athletes again enjoyed success on the national stage. The Georgetown women’s cross country team captured its first NCAA Championship. The win by the Hoyas marked the third-straight year a BIG EAST team has won the women’s cross country championship, with Villanova winning the past two. The Louisville men’s basketball team advanced to the Final Four in New Orleans. Connecticut field hockey reached the NCAA semifinals, as did the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team. The Irish women’s basketball team and Syracuse women’s lacrosse team each reached the NCAA finals. USF softball reached the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., for the first time in program history.
The BIG EAST placed two teams in the NCAA Women’s Final Four for the third time in the last four years as Connecticut joined Notre Dame in Denver, with the Fighting Irish advancing to the national title game for the second-straight year.
BIG EAST student-athletes won five NCAA championships. Sheila Reid won her second-straight NCAA Women’s Cross Country title. Syracuse hurdler Jarret Eaton won the 60-meter hurdle championship in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship. Notre Dame won the distance medley relay at the same championship. Georgetown’s Emily Infeld won the 3,000-meter run. Carlos Almeida of Louisville won the 200-yard breaststroke at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships.
BIG EAST football maintained its national profile as a competitively balanced group. Three BIG EAST teams won bowl games, while the BIG EAST representative in the Bowl Championship Series won its bowl game for the fourth time in the last seven years- a streak that includes wins against the ACC, Big 12 and SEC champions.
The BIG EAST became the nation’s largest Division I-A conference in 2005-06 when five new members began competing – the University of Cincinnati, DePaul University, the University of Louisville, Marquette University and the University of South Florida.
BIG EAST institutions reside in 18 of the nation’s top 50 largest media markets, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Tampa, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Cincinnati and Milwaukee. With its newest members, BIG EAST markets contain more than one-fourth of all television households in the U.S. The BIG EAST will welcome UCF, Houston, Memphis, SMU and Temple in all sports in 2013-14. Tulane comes aboard for the 2014-15 season. Temple football joined the league in 2012, with Boise State and San Diego State joining in 2013 East Carolina in 2014 and Navy in 2015.
Since opening its doors in 1979, the league has won 32 national championships in six different sports and 137 student-athletes have won individual national titles through 2011-12.
BIG EAST basketball squads have captured 11 titles in the last 13 years. In 2003-04, Connecticut became the first school in NCAA history to win the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball titles in the same season. In ’02-03, the BIG EAST became the first conference in NCAA history to win the men’s and women’s titles in the same year when the Syracuse men and the Connecticut women captured their respective national championships. The BIG EAST placed three men’s basketball teams in the Final Four in 1985, the only time this has occurred in NCAA history.
Proactive movement has been a signature strategy for the conference that was born in 1979. The BIG EAST continually turns challenges into opportunities to become stronger. The conference currently crowns champions in 24 sports.
The BIG EAST became a reality on May 31, 1979, following a meeting of athletic directors from Providence College, St. John’s, Georgetown and Syracuse universities. Seton Hall, Connecticut and Boston College completed the original seven school alliance.
While the membership has both increased and changed, the focus of the BIG EAST has not wavered. The conference reflects a tradition of broad based programs, led by administrators and coaches who place a constant emphasis on academic integrity. Its student athletes own significantly high graduation rates and their record of scholastic achievement notably show a balance between intercollegiate athletics and academics.
Any successful organization has had the good fortune to have outstanding leadership. The BIG EAST primarily was the brainchild of Dave Gavitt, who was the conference’s first Commissioner. Michael Tranghese, the league’s first full-time employee, and for 11 years the associate to Gavitt, became Commissioner in 1990. In his first year, he administered the formation of The BIG EAST Football Conference. John Marinatto was the third commissioner of the BIG EAST, serving from 2009-2012, after seven years as the conference’s senior associate commissioner. Mike Aresco became the conference’s fourth commissioner in 2012.
The league has long been considered a leader in innovative concepts in promotion and publicity, particularly regarding television. Those efforts have resulted in unparalleled visibility for BIG EAST student athletes. The conference has enjoyed longstanding relationships with CBS, ESPN, Inc. and ABC.
BIG EAST men’s basketball games are regular sellouts at campus and major public arenas, including the annual men’s BIG EAST Championship in Madison Square Garden. The women’s basketball championship has led all conferences in attendance for the past nine years. Attendance figures also are significant in soccer and baseball.
The BIG EAST has its headquarters in Providence where the conference administers to more than 5,500 student-athletes.