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Old 12-15-2012, 01:59 PM   #5623
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'Catholic 7' announce official departure from Big East
Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports2:46p.m. EST December 15,


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.

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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.

With seven of the Big East's Catholic schools leaving the conference on Thursday, USA TODAY Sports takes a look back at the teams' basketball history overall and in the league. Streeter Lecka, Getty Images Fullscreen

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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."

Moving forward, the non-football schools are expected to explore the possibility of adding Xavier and perhaps two other schools from the Atlantic 10 Conference as they look into the logistics of their basketball-centric league.
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