Georgetown, 6 Others Announce Decision to Leave Big East

Georgetown was a founding member of the conference in 1979

Saturday, Dec 15, 2012  |  Updated 4:37 PM EDT
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The Georgetown-Syracuse basketball rivalry is well on its way to becoming a relic of the past.

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The seven Big East schools that don't play FBS football, including Georgetown, have decided to leave the conference and pursue a new basketball framework.

The presidents of the seven schools (Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, DePaul, Marquette, Seton Hall and Providence), popularly known as "The Catholic 7," made the announcement Saturday, saying it was a unanimous vote. The announcement came down moments after the No. 15 Georgetown men's basketball team defeated Western Carolina, 81-68 at Verizon Center.

In a letter addressed to "members of the Georgetown community," University President John DeGioia said the move "honors the history and tradition on which the Big East was established. In the current context of national athletic conference realignment, we believe pursuing a new foundation for our intercollegiate athletics that builds on this tradition of excellence and competition is the best way forward."

The move leaves Connecticut, a founding member of the league in 1979, Cincinnati and South Florida -- three current members with FBS football programs -- up in the air concerning their futures.

Georgetown, St. John's, Seton Hall, and Providence were founding members of the Big East in 1979. Villanova joined one year later.  DePaul and Marquette joined the Big East from Conference USA in 2005.

The Big East is still lined up to have a 12-team football conference next season with six new members joining, including Boise State and San Diego State for football only. Rutgers and Louisville, which both announced intentions to leave the Big East, are still expected to compete in the conference next year.

DeGioia's letter concluded, "we look forward to establishing this new foundation and to the benefits it will yield for our intercollegiate athletics and our community."

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