CHICAGO — The Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University, and Jean Lenti Ponsetto, director of athletics, sent the following statement March 12 to faculty, staff, students and alumni on the official decision to establish a new conference that will begin play in the 2013-2014 academic year under the Big East name.
“This morning DePaul University, along with the six basketball-focused institutions in the BIG EAST Conference voted unanimously to separate from the conference. DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova are setting a foundation to continue the elite level of success upon which the BIG EAST conference was founded.
“The seven presidents and athletics directors are committed to the highest level of success academically and athletically by our student-athletes and coaches. This premier athletics conference starts on July 1 as the BIG EAST and will feature institutions with similar commitments that will enable each program to flourish as we all move forward in the future.
“DePaul’s tradition of success coincides with the six other institutions with our men’s basketball program making 22 NCAA Tournament appearances. At nearly 1,400 victories and 23 20-win seasons, DePaul also has produced 19 All-Americans in men’s basketball. Our women’s basketball program is looking for its 11th straight NCAA Tournament appearance this season, while head coach Doug Bruno is coming off a gold medal-winning performance at the 2012 London Olympics.
“Academically, among our many accomplishments, DePaul student-athletes are among the best in the country. DePaul led the BIG EAST with five teams earning the Team Academic Award while 150 student-athletes were named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team. The men’s golf program claimed the nation’s top team GPA for the third straight year, and the women’s basketball team GPA was ranked third nationally.
“This is an exciting time to be a member of the University community. Our future alignment will allow our alumni and friends to gather in some of the nation’s greatest cities to build upon our vibrant community and cheer the Blue Demons to victory.
“Details about the expected broadcast media deal, season-ending tournament and additional members of the new conference will be announced in the near future. The upcoming media deal will allow our students, alumni, fans and friends to follow DePaul as they compete against the top programs in the country.
“We look forward to this next chapter in DePaul athletics history. Thank you for the many ways that you support DePaul. Wishing you and yours a joyous spring. Go DePaul!”