It's official - Marquette joins the BIG EAST

July 1, 2005 ? Today the BIG EAST Conference formally admits Marquette University to begin competition in the 2005-06 academic year. MU will be joined by the University of Cincinnati, DePaul University, University of Louisville and University of South Florida to form the nation?s largest Division I-A conference.

?This is a landmark day for the BIG EAST Conference,? said Commissioner Michael Tranghese. ?We have been working closely with our new members since they accepted membership and we are extremely excited to move forward together. Our new schools have already added an enthusiastic spirit to the BIG EAST. We know they are bringing outstanding levels of athletic competition and academic excellence.?

The league had announced that the five new institutions had accepted conference membership on Nov. 4, 2003. With 16 members formally in place, The BIG EAST has become the nation?s largest Division I-A conference.

?The BIG EAST is a tremendous beginning for all of us at Marquette University,? said Marquette Athletic Director Bill Cords. ?From an athletics perspective this is where we have always wanted to be. Collectively, we?ve worked toward the highest level of college athletics and July 1 is a day for all Marquette constituents to be proud. The BIG EAST provides us with great challenges, but even greater opportunities.?

In 2005-06, The BIG EAST Conference will include: the University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, DePaul University, Georgetown University, University of Louisville, Marquette University, University of Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh, Providence College, Rutgers University, St. John?s University, Seton Hall University, University of South Florida, Syracuse University, Villanova University and West Virginia University.

Marquette, with an enrollment of 11,000, sponsors 14 sports. The Golden Eagles will meet BIG EAST opponents for the first time on Friday, September 16, when men?s soccer travels to Syracuse and women?s soccer hosts South Florida. MU will also host to the 2005 BIG EAST Women?s Soccer Championships on November 4 & 6 at Valley Fields.

Since opening its doors in 1979, the BIG EAST has won 25 national championships in six different sports and 123 student-athletes have won individual national titles. More than 300 student-athletes have earned Academic All-America honors.

BIG EAST institutions reside in seven of the nation?s top 30 largest media markets, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., Tampa, Pittsburgh and Hartford. With the incoming members, the BIG EAST markets will contain almost one fourth of television households in the U.S.

Click here for the BIG EAST Conference website.

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