SMU officially joins Big East
Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
While news is stirring about Head Coach June Jones leaving for Arizona State University, SMU is continuing to move forward by officially joining the Big East on Wednesday.
According to The Dallas Morning News, for C-USA teams SMU, Houston and Central Florida the wait is over.
While the notification dates for SMU to switch conferences next year has passed, the Mustang Nation will make its debut in the BIG EAST in 2013. The C-USA additions have been added as full members along with San Diego State and Boise State joining as football only. During a press conference Wednesday, SMU President R. Gerald Turner expressed his approval of the conference re-alignment.
"We believe that we will benefit from the BIG EAST, and the BIG EAST will benefit from SMU," Turner said.
The conference has been looking to add all five teams since Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they would be leaving to join the ACC and West Virginia as well to the Big 12.
The conference plans to have SMU, Houston, Boise State, San Diego State and likely Louisville in the west division. Current members South Florida, Rutgers, Connecticut, Cincinnati and UCF will round up the east division. By adding these five new teams, the Big East conference will have the most dominant footprint out of any other college football conference, spanning from coast-to-coast with teams in eight states and five different U.S. regions.
The Big East is still hoping to also add Air Force to the western division and Navy to the east as football-only members.
Reported on SMUMustangs.com, SMU Athletic Director Steve Orsini said, "This is a move that will impact all aspects of the collegiate experience at SMU. Our move to the BIG EAST will help us increase our exposure and visibility and will raise SMU's profile on a national level. BIG EAST membership represents SMU's return to the highest level of collegiate athletics."
Formed in 1979, the Big East is headquartered in Providence, RI. In regards to football the conference is an automatic qualifier to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) meaning the Big East champion has a guaranteed berth in one of five BCS bowl games every year. The five BCS bowls include the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and the BCS National Championship game.
For both men's and women's basketball at SMU, the joining of the conference is an exciting opportunity. Basketball teams in the Big East are some of the highest ranked teams in the nation. Overall, the Big East Conference has won 14 national championships, and in 2004, Connecticut's men's and women's teams both won national championship titles.