November 27, 2012

Good Afternoon:

Here's some great news for Tulane University. We have just accepted an invitation to join the BIG EAST, one of the country's leading collegiate athletics conferences, beginning in 2014.

With the largest footprint in all of college sports, the BIG EAST is an excellent fit for Tulane, whose students come from every state, especially the Northeast, where the conference is headquartered. But that is just one of the reasons the BIG EAST conference members voted unanimously to extend an invitation to Tulane.

Tulane's appeal to the BIG EAST centered around our academic profile as a major research and highly selective university with membership in the Association of American Universities and our designation at the highest levels of research and civic engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Also in our favor was our location in New Orleans, which provides a new market for the BIG EAST, and our track record as holder of more C-USA championships than any other school from 1997 to 2005.

The BIG EAST presidents were also impressed by our recovery after Hurricane Katrina and our renewed commitment to athletics that included the reinstatement of a full complement of Division I athletics programs; investment in new and renovated facilities, including Yulman Stadium; our efforts to enhance our coaching staffs, both in quality and in remuneration and our academic support systems for student-athletes. As part of the BIG EAST, Tulane joins several excellent universities, distinguished in their research, scholarship and teaching missions — not to mention in athletics competition.

While accepting the invitation to join the BIG EAST made perfect sense, we did not make the decision to leave our current conference, Conference USA, easily. We have had some great friendships, great rivalries and great successes in Conference USA over the last 17 years.

Joining the BIG EAST, in which we will compete in all sports, means big things for Tulane, its student-athletes and Green Wave fans everywhere. BIG EAST membership will bring increased visibility and revenue from television rights, ticket sales and merchandise. Tulane student-athletes will also have the opportunity to play on a bigger stage against a very competitive field.

In the end, the decision came down to what was best for the university, our student-athletes and our fans. In the end, this was one Thanksgiving invitation we could not pass up.


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