'Catholic 7' announce official departure from Big East

9:01 PM, Dec 15, 2012   |    comments
Georgetown Hoyas forward Otto Porter (22) dunks the ball during the game against the Longwood Lancers at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
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Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova will leave

The non-football members of the Big East are officially leaving the conference to pursue a "new basketball framework," according to a statement released on behalf of the seven school presidents.

The announcement comes two days after USA TODAY Sports reported that the seven schools had made the decision to leave the conference and were planning to announce it publicly.

Here is the full statement from the non-football member school presidents:

"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."

Big East commissioner Mike Aresco and the remaining Big East presidents released the following statement Saturday in response:

"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 next step for the departing schools is to establishing their league framework and negotiating the terms and timing of their Big East exit. Big East officials said Saturday that the departing schools will be held to league bylaws, which means they cannot leave until June 30, 2015. Any earlier departure would have to be negotiated and would be subject to a withdrawal fee, which they would not have to pay if they delay their departure until June, 2015.

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