The Big East has officially announced the addition of the Memphis Tigers to the conference in all sports. The Tigers will begin competition in the Big East in 2013.
The addition of Memphis brings the total number of football-playing schools in the Big East to 12. That number will be accomplished by 2015 after Navy joins, following Boise State, Houston, San Diego State, SMU and UCF in 2013.
A championship game could also be in the future for the Big East. The NCAA allows conferences with 12 members to stage a championship game, and that is the ultimate goal of the Big East.
From the Big East release:
“Over the past decade, the University of Memphis has demonstrated an unwavering commitment of competing at the highest level in college sports,” said BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto. “The University has positioned itself for long-term success by upgrading facilities and investing wisely in various areas of the athletic department including coaching and administration. We are confident that the addition of this outstanding athletics program located in a top 50 media market and in the heart of the nation’s largest conference footprint will further propel the BIG EAST and the University of Memphis to even greater levels of success in the future.”
“It is with great pleasure that we officially welcome the University of Memphis to the BIG EAST Conference,” stated Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida President and Chair of the BIG EAST Board of Directors. “Our Board was very impressed with the University, its ongoing commitment to academic and athletic excellence, as well as its strong community support. We are excited about renewing old relationships, starting new ones and look forward to working together with President Raines and her team in the future.”
“This is an historical day for the University of Memphis,” said Dr. Shirley C. Raines, University of Memphis President. “On behalf of the faculty, staff, alumni, fans, students and especially, our student-athletes, we are thrilled to accept the invitation from the BIG EAST Conference to become a member in all sports in 2013. We are grateful to President Judy Genshaft and the entire BIG EAST Conference Board for their unanimous vote for the University of Memphis and Tiger athletics.”
“This is an exciting day for Tiger athletics,” said Memphis Athletics Director R.C. Johnson. “Many years ago we set as a departmental goal the task ofbeing the best that we could be in every athletic endeavor. With today’s invitation to join many of our friends in such a prestigious conference means we have achieved one of our top missions.”