The former BIG EAST is considered one of the most dominant and fiercely contested leagues in men's college basketball history. College basketball fans recall when Patrick Ewing of Georgetown faced off against rivals Syracuse, Villanova, and Connecticut.
Today's BIG EAST is also not too bad. Six teams from the BIG EAST competed in the 2018 tournament, with Villanova and Xavier earning two of the top seeds. In 2016 and 2018, Villanova was the overall winner.
The 'new' BIG EAST and the 'old' BIG EAST both had a majority of Catholic colleges and universities, even though many people don't like the 'new' BIG EAST nearly as much as they liked the 'old' BIG EAST. So, let's discuss how it all started.
About Big East
From 1979 until 2013, the eastern region of the United States was home to up to 16 colleges that competed in collegiate athletic conferences under the Big East. Conference members played 24 NCAA sports.
While the conference has a long history of basketball success at the national level, its shorter (1991–2013) football program, which was established by welcoming one college and four other "associate members" (their football programs only) into the conference, has resulted in two national championships.
Big East & Its Original Members:
The Big East was founded on May 29, 1979, forty years ago today. The athletic directors of seven schools announced that they were leaving the ECAC and formed a new conference following lengthy talks in Providence under the direction of Providence College athletic director Dan Gavitt.
According to the press release issued by the future commissioner Mike Tranghese, "the new league brings together seven nationally renowned clubs that are committed to developing the best basketball league in the East." As stated above, the seven colleges have qualified 24 times for the NCAA basketball tournament or championships in the last ten years.
People who are big fans of college basketball follow the basketball championships to place their bets, as mentioned on this page. Before the Big East's collapse, the Big East was a fantastic conference; we will discuss this in detail in the next section.
Let's look have a look at the seven original members of the Big East were:
- Boston College.
- The University of Connecticut.
- Georgetown University.
- Providence College.
- Seton Hall University.
- St. John's University.
- Syracuse University.
The next year, Villanova University was added.
The Early Years:
On South Main Street, the Big East opened its doors in Providence. Tranghese was employed to be the initial worker after Gavitt quit as PC's athletic director to take the commissioner's position.
The league immediately became a major force in college sports because of recruiting successes and a partnership with ESPN, a new sports cable network that featured highly regarded teams from Georgetown, St. John's, and Syracuse.
Adding Patrick Ewing solidified John Thompson's Hoyas as a major power in the country. In 1982, 1984, and 1985, Ewing guided the Hoyas to Final Four appearances, and in 1984, the Big East captured its first of eight national titles.
In 1985, the Hoyas lost to the Wildcats in the national championship game after Georgetown, St. John's (with Chris Mullin), and Villanova made it to the Final Four in Lexington, Kentucky.
Expansion Of Football:
In its first ten years, the conference would be home to eight Final Four teams, including Rick Pitino's Friar squad in 1987. Gavitt, who departed to lead the Boston Celtics, was followed by Tranghese. When Miami, a football powerhouse, joined the conference for the 1991–92 season, the conference's future was drastically altered.
The conference had grown to nine teams by 1982–83 with the addition of the University of Pittsburgh. From that point on, decisions on growth were taken to satisfy the football aspirations of BC, Pitt, and Syracuse, and soon Rutgers, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech joined the group.
Instability Between Football And Non-Football Schools:
The Big East's odd structure, which included "football" and "non-football" institutions, caused instability in the conference. Football, which was already beginning to rule collegiate sports at the time, was not given priority in the BIG EAST Conference, which was founded as a basketball conglomerate. The football and non-football schools eventually split, and the league offices relocated to the former railway station facility off Kennedy Plaza had to endure some difficult times.
By 2013, the office had moved to a building under the State House a few thousand yards to the north, but it was there that the league disintegrated. The Big East finally lost Boston College (ACC) and West Virginia (Big 12) because of mergers in other conferences, while Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse decided to leave the Big East and join the ACC.
Birth Of New "Big East" & Its Current Status:
That resulted in creating a "new" Big East, which harkens back to Gavitt's original vision of the nation's top league for pure basketball. The 10-school Big East of today is governed by commissioner Val Ackerman and includes: Villanova.
- A two-time national champion in basketball.
- A robust contract with a brand-new TV partner in Fox Sports.
This basketball is one of the most relevant steps before the NBA. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is developed by the combination of the National Basketball League (NBL) and the Association of America (BAA) (NBA). The NBA now draws athletes—and millions of fans—from worldwide.
A reception was held on Wednesday at The Graduate, the former Biltmore Hotel, to honour the league's past and current achievements. Ackerman was joined by the presidents and athletic directors of the 10 Big East institutions.