After speculation, reports and confirmations travelled through the media pipelines, the Big East conference has now released a statement announcing that the seven non-FBS institutions of the league have informed the conference of their plan to withdraw. From this announcement we can infer that the plan is for the schools to withdraw, rather than dissolve the league and that the Big East conference will continue after admitting new members next season.
The statement from the league office is reproduced below:
"The basketball institutions have notified us that they plan to withdraw from the BIG EAST Conference. The membership recognizes their contributions over the long distinguished history of the BIG EAST. The 13 members of the Conference are confident and united regarding our collective future. We have a strong Conference with respected national universities, and are working together to forge the future. We have a variety of options, and are looking forward with great partnership, collegiality and optimism."
The Presidents of the "Catholic 7" universities also released a statement, after holding a conference call this morning to discuss and vote on some of their plans to withdraw from the league:
"Earlier today we voted unanimously to pursue an orderly evolution to a foundation of basketball schools that honors the history and tradition on which the Big East was established. Under the current context of conference realignment, we believe pursuing a new basketball framework that builds on this tradition of excellence and competition is the best way forward.
We are grateful to our Commissioner, Michael Aresco, for his exceptional leadership of the Big East Conference. We have been honored to be associated with the outstanding group of institutions that have made up the Big East. While we pursue this opportunity for our institutions, we believe the efforts of the past two years have established the foundation for an enduring national football conference.
We look forward to building this new foundation with an emphasis on elite competition and a commitment to the development of our students engaged in intercollegiate athletics. That is where we will now spend our energy as we move forward."