Big East Welcomes Creighton
Jays fans and alums watch announcement at Sokol Arena
Omaha, NE - It's official. Finally. Creighton is leaving the Missouri Valley and moving to the Big East conference.
Butler and Xavier will leave the Atlantic 10 and join Creighton in the Big East, along with Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall and DePaul.
Fr. Brian Shanley, President of Providence College welcomed the schools Wednesday morning. He said the Big East wanted schools with good academics that believe in student athletes and play good basketball.
"Today we relaunch the big east, we reboot in a sense the Big East," Fr. Shanley explained.
Creighton invited fans and alumni to Sokol Arena today to watch the announcement live.
"Across the board the brand is going to be huge,” said Creighton alum Tom Culhane. “It's going to be amazing. I already told my sister I’m buying her extra season tickets so I don't have to worry about that next year."
The new Big East will be unlike almost any other conference with basketball as the spotlight sport. Games will be shown on the new national cable network, Fox Sports 1, which has the exclusive rights during the 12-year contract. The Big East Basketball Tournament will still be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a basketball Mecca, for years to come.
"To me I view it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. I came to Creighton in 1985 and even then they were talking about trying to get a conference together of private schools, like missions, no football, same issues," said Creighton Associate Athletic Director Kevin Sarver.
Longtime fans are also excited about the future of Creighton University.
"It’s the greatest thing that could happen on campus, we really enjoyed the past years. We just finished our 48th year of season tickets so we've seen a lot of games and teams, and we're excited about this," said Creighton fan Georgia Race.
Creighton President, Fr. Timothy Lannon, had an appropriate sentiment for a conference with only Butler as a non-Catholic member, "This is a match made in heaven," he said.
Fr. Shanley called Creighton the perfect partner, applauding the school's baseball, soccer and basketball programs. He also said the Centurylink Center and the Jays' fans are big selling factors.
He joked, "There's nothing not to like about Creighton except it's a long trip from Providence to Creighton."