By Matt Blanchette and the AP
The seven Catholic schools currently in the Big East formally announced their intention to leave the conference. Below if the statement released on Saturday. The Big East Conference said it was aware of their intentions.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The seven Big East schools that don't play FBS football have decided to leave the conference and pursue a new basketball framework.
The presidents of the seven schools made the announcement Saturday, saying it was a unanimous vote.
The move leaves Connecticut, a founding member of the league in 1979, Cincinnati and South Florida - three current members with FBS football programs - up in the air concerning their futures.
The seven schools are: Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, DePaul, Marquette, Seton Hall and Providence.
The Big East is still lined up to have a 12-team football conference next season with six new members joining, including Boise State and San Diego State for football only. Rutgers and Louisville, which both announced intentions to leave the Big East, are still expected to compete in the conference next year.
The presidents have scheduled a conference call at 4:30 p.m.
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.