Marquette Update on BIG EAST Conference
Dec. 15, 2012
Dear members of the Marquette community,
We are writing to inform you today that Marquette University, along with six other colleges and universities, has made a decision to end our association with the BIG EAST Conference. DePaul University, Georgetown University, Providence College, Seton Hall University, St. John’s University and Villanova University have also ended their association with the conference, and together we will explore our options to develop a premier athletics conference centered on elite-level basketball.
So many of you fondly recall both the historical and modern successes of Marquette Athletics, including our men’s basketball program, from our National Championship in 1977, our Final Four appearance in 2003 and the back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in 2011 and 2012. This move will allow us to enhance the elite status of our men’s basketball program, which we were not willing to compromise amid the shifting landscape of intercollegiate athletics. It also allows us to develop new opportunities for student athletes in all 16 of our competitive athletic programs. Several of these programs capped off banner years this fall: women’s soccer made another NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in its seventh trip to the NCAA tournament in eight years; women’s volleyball won 27 games en route a second straight NCAA tournament appearance; and men’s soccer rose to a national ranking of number two in its regular season, while also making an NCAA tournament appearance.
Over the past 15 months, the seven presidents and athletic directors of the universities previously named have been in a thoughtful dialogue to ensure we jointly solidify our vision and commitment to compete at the absolute highest levels of athletic excellence for many years to come. In the past few weeks, after the recent departures of Big East Conference members, our conversations became more urgent and gained momentum. Beyond the playing fields, this move offered a tremendous opportunity to deepen our alignment with mission-driven institutions concerned with the personal and academic growth of student athletes.
In addition to aligning our university with strong peer institutions, we also saw great value in retaining our presence in key geographic locations where we have a large representation of both Marquette alumni and current students. The six peer institutions have locations in Chicago, Washington, D.C., New England, New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia, which will provide an infrastructure needed to obtain the highest levels of success.
As we look ahead to a new future for Marquette University Athletics, we want to thank you for your continued and enthusiastic support.
Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
Vice President and Director of Athletics
Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., is interim president
Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., is the interim president of Marquette University. From 1996 to 2011 he served as the 22nd president of Marquette University. Under his leadership, Marquette has improved academic quality, increased and stabilized enrollment, and enhanced partnerships with the City of Milwaukee and community groups and in 2005 completed the most successful comprehensive campaign in the history of the university with a total of $357 million. Read more...