Creighton’s president, Rev. Timothy Lannon, joined other school presidents for the official announcement at the News Corporation Building in Manhattan, NY…Creighton has joined the new Big East Conference, where basketball will be the main focus. The conference is made up of seven former Big East members — St. John’s, Seton Hall, De¬Paul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence and Villanova, known as the “Catholic 7.” Along with Creighton, Butler and Xavier will join the new Big East to make a 10-member league.
The membership is effective July 1, 2013, with competition set for the 2013-14 academic year.
“This rare opportunity caused us to examine closely Creighton’s future and the future of other Division I conferences,” Fr. Lannon said. “We have enjoyed our affiliation with the Missouri Valley Conference over the years, but when an exceptional opportunity presented itself, we paused and carefully considered our options. We see this new partnership enhancing the visibility of the University through increased national media exposure. This will positively impact our athletic programs, recruitment of students and faculty, and cultivation of additional philanthropic opportunities.”
The school presidents were joined by officials of the Fox Sports Media Group and Madison Square Garden. The new league has a TV contract lined up with Fox that reportedly will pay schools at least $3 million per year. Fox is ready to launch a new national sports channel, Fox Sports 1.
The financial upside will favor Creighton greatly. Creighton’s athletic budget was estimated around $15 million in 2011, which was well below the “Catholic 7” athletic budgets, which averaged average $24 million.
Creighton’s $4.4 million in basketball spending trailed all the Catholic 7 schools, though it was closer to Butler and Xavier’s numbers. In some sports, Creighton’s budget is already competitive with the proposed new league. Its baseball budget would be the highest in the league, its men’s soccer budget the second-highest.
Doug Elgin, Commissioner of the Missouri Valley Conference, released a statement.
“As communicated during the Big East press conference earlier this morning, Creighton University will resign from the Missouri Valley Conference membership effective June 30, 2013. Creighton has been a valued member of the Conference for many years. We respect the decision by the University to resign from the MVC, and we wish them well in their future athletic endeavors.
I want to be clear in stating that the Missouri Valley Conference is not defined by any one institution. The Valley’s history has shown, time and again, that it finds the strength, resources, competitive determination, and leadership to rise to higher levels at times of change. We will continue to be a great basketball and all-sports league, as we have been since our founding in 1907.
The MVC Presidents Council will continue to chart the future course of the Conference and has been proactively engaged in evaluating membership options.”