Villanova president Fr. Peter Donohue sent the following letter to Faculty, Staff and Students today:
December 15, 2012
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Villanova is embarking on a new and exciting course for its athletic programs-one that seizes control of our future, while building on the traditions, values and rivalries that energize our teams and fans.
Last week, I and the Presidents from Georgetown, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, DePaul and Marquette, spoke with the Big East Commissioner about the future of the conference. We informed him that our schools are actively exploring avenues through which we can best support our interests and ensure our national prominence. 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. This is a group of like-minded schools with excellent academics, great athletic histories and traditions, national caliber basketball programs, and passionate fan bases in major media markets.
As members of the Villanova community and fans of Villanova athletics, I want to assure you that this was a thoughtful and strategic decision. We have the necessary resources to support all our athletic programs, and we are confident and excited about this direction-especially as we know there will always be an appetite for elite basketball.
Villanova, and this new basketball framework, is well positioned to capitalize on that hunger. Villanova offers top tier basketball in the fourth largest media market in the country, and together with our fellow Big East basketball institutions, we account for four of the top five media markets. Collectively, these seven schools can claim three men's basketball national championships and 18 Final Four appearances. Villanova teams alone boast 82 conference championships and 19 NCAA team championships. I am confident that Villanova's athletic programs-men's basketball and beyond-will continue to compete at the highest levels.
This is not a move that will be made overnight. This will be a strategic evolution into a new framework, involving a period of transition to address issues of structure, membership and media partnerships. Villanova is working closely with these like-minded institutions to protect and advance our common interests at all levels. I strongly believe this is the best course for Villanova, our student-athletes, and our alumni and supporters.
Together, these institutions 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.
At Villanova, we are looking to protect our University and promote it-to ensure that Villanova is a nationally recognized institution that lives by its values, and seeks to educate all its students to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. This decision is about controlling our future, strategically positioning the university for future growth, and securing an environment in which Villanova can thrive.
This is the right decision for Villanova. Vince Nicastro, Villanova's athletic director, and I have worked closely with our board, University leadership and coaches, and I know that we are all eager for this new chapter in Villanova's history. I look forward to keeping you updated as we move forward.