sunny.png
Monday September 23rd, 2019 4:00PM

UConn to rejoin Big East, board vote makes it official

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn is heading back to the Big East

The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees on Wednesday accepted an invitation to move its basketball and most other athletic teams from the American Athletic Conference.

University President Susan Herbst signed a contract, and the teams are expected to begin play in the conference in the 2020-21 academic year.

"While we all appreciate the AAC...the board must make a decision that is best for the athletic program," said Tom Ritter, the interim chairman of the Board of Trustees. "At this time, I support accepting the Big East invitation as a better overall fit and, in my opinion, best for our program and student athletes."

The move is designed energize the school's fan base by renewing some old rivalries. It also means an end to costly road trips to states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Florida for conference games. UConn is currently dealing with a deficit in its athletic division of more than $40 million.

The school hasn't indicated what it plans to do with its football program, a sport not offered by the Big East.

"Make no mistake that we will still be committed to our football program," Ritter said. "We will have options for football and we will have time to decide on a pathway for a successful and exciting football program.

Herbst said she and athletic director David Benedict will hold off on commenting until an official announcement from the Big East. That's scheduled for Thursday at a noon news conference at Madison Square Garden, an arena that's hosted several iconic moments in UConn basketball history.

"This is a Big East process and we need to respect their process," Herbst said. "UConn nation and the news media have a lot of questions, I know that. All of them will be answered. But we've got to follow the Big East, so hold tight."

UConn was a charter member of the Big East, which was formed in 1979. The Huskies never actually left the conference. The American was formed by UConn and the other remaining conference schools in 2013 after the league's basketball-focused private schools broke away, eventually negotiating to take the conference name with them.

UConn is expected to add cache to the basketball league. But women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma cautioned on Monday that it won't be the league fans remember.

The latest version of the Big East will include UConn, Butler, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova and Xavier.

"It's like saying you're moving back to your hometown, but the block that you lived on and half the city is gone," he said. "It's not the same."

But Auriemma said his team's success has not depended on what conference it is in.

UConn became a national power in basketball as a Big East school, winning three men's titles under coach Jim Calhoun and eight women's NCAA championships under Auriemma.

The school added another men's title and three more women's championships as members of the American.

The UConn women have never lost to an American Athletic Conference opponent, going 120-0 in the regular season and six conference tournaments.

UConn football also found some success in the Big East. The teams went to five bowl games, including the 2011 Fiesta Bowl. But when Big East football collapsed, so did the Huskies' program. It has a record of 28-69 since that season.

Football coach Randy Edsall said he's not sure what the future of his sport will look like at the school.

"The Board of Trustees, University Leadership and the Athletic Director made the decision that this was in the best interest of our 22 intercollegiate teams, hundreds of student athletes, fans and our future," Edsall said in a statement. "With the decision, it leaves our football program in transition at this point in time, but the Board of Trustees, University Leadership and Athletic Director will make the decision that they feel is best for our Football program moving forward."

Not everyone is pleased with the move. UConn football season-ticket holder Tom McDougall made the 40-minute drive from west Hartford to address the board. He said the vote means they don't care about him or other football fans.

"It doesn't even make sense," he said. "There is more money in the American Athletic Conference. There is a future in the American Athletic Conference. There's an escape route in the American Athletic Conference. The Big East offers none of these things."

UConn officials have expressed displeasure with the AAC in March when the conference and ESPN announced a new 12-year television contract. The deal was designed increase revenue to the league's schools, but put many of its games on ESPN-plus, the company's subscription digital platform.

Messages seeking comment from the American Athletic Conference were not immediately returned.

___

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Alleged sex tape in R. Kelly case turned over to defense
Prosecutors have turned over to R. Kelly's attorneys a tape they say shows the singer having sex with a minor girl two decades ago
1:56PM ( 6 minutes ago )
House oversight panel backs subpoena for WH counselor Conway
The House Oversight Committee has voted to issue a subpoena forcing White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to appear
1:50PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Trump calls out Rapinoe for comments about White House visit
Trump criticizes US star Rapinoe on Twitter for her comments about possible White House visit
1:45PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
UConn football coach unsure of future after move from AAC
UConn football coach Randy Edsall says he doesn't know where he's team will end up once the school leaves the American Athletic Conference
12:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
Athletic trainers: Coaches still influence health decisions
College athletic trainers: Coaches still influence player health decisions
11:19AM ( 2 hours ago )
IOC to change process of Olympic bid races, host elections
The IOC is changing how and when it picks Olympic hosts, and will approach candidates who can be from multiple cities or countries
10:49AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Longtime AP sports writer Ed Shearer dies at 82
Longtime Associated Press sports writer Ed Shearer has died at 82; covered Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series and Hank Aaron's 715th homer but best known as "SEC Seer"
6:12PM ( 1 day ago )
Jagger appears healthy as Rolling Stones rock Soldier Field
Mick Jagger appeared healthy and energetic as he ran and skipped along a narrow stage that jutted out into the crowd at Chicago's Soldier Field
1:47AM ( 4 days ago )
Patriots owner pledges $20 million to fight anti-Semitism
Israel honored New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with the 2019 Genesis Prize for his philanthropy and commitment to combatting anti-Semitism
4:48PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Online Football
UConn board expected to finalize switch from AAC to Big East
The University of Connecticut's Board of Trustees is expected to accept an invitation to move most of the school's athletic teams from the American Athletic Conference to the Big East
2:03AM ( 11 hours ago )
Raptors president 'confident' Leonard will return to champs
Raptors president 'confident' he can keep keeping Leonard once free agency begins
4:08PM ( 21 hours ago )
UCLA's Rachel Garcia wins Collegiate Woman Athlete of Year
UCLA softball player Rachel Garcia earns Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year; pitcher led team to NCAA title
9:08AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
Vandy rides Rocker to 4-1 win, forces a Game 3 vs. Michigan
Vanderbilt rides Kumar Rocker to 4-1 win, forces a Game 3 against Michigan in College World Series finals
12:05AM ( 13 hours ago )
Michigan beats Vandy 7-4; 1st title since '62 is 1 win away
Michigan beats Vanderbilt 7-4 to move within a win of first national title since 1962
11:58PM ( 1 day ago )
Michigan coach helped build Vandy program he's out to beat
CWS finals: Michigan's Erik Bakich out to beat the Vanderbilt he helped build as Tim Corbin's assistant
4:56PM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
'This isn't for everyone': A labor of love for football refs
Being a college football official has never been more difficult. How they do the job and why.
11:48AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Ex-Florida player charged with murder in wife's 2016 death
Authorities say a former University of Florida football player, Earl "Tony" Joiner, has been arrested and charged with killing his wife in a case dating to 2016
9:57PM ( 2 weeks ago )
APNewsBreak: Emails show chaos before Kansas player's death
Newly released emails show the chaos surrounding the heatstroke death of a 300-pound football player after practice at a Kansas community college
3:48PM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Sports - College Football
The Latest: ACC has big night with record 6 lottery picks
The Latest: The ACC is off to a fast start with record 6 lottery picks
9:18PM ( 5 days ago )
NCAA clears Division II player after agent-rule mistake
NCAA clears Division II basketball player after mistake over agent rules
1:51PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Ex-Oklahoma State basketball coach gets 3 months in prison
A former assistant basketball coach at Oklahoma State and the University of South Carolina has been sentenced to three months in prison for accepting bribes to link top players with bribe-paying managers and financial advisers
3:10PM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Alleged sex tape in R. Kelly case turned over to defense
Prosecutors have turned over to R. Kelly's attorneys a tape they say shows the singer having sex with a minor girl two decades ago
1:56PM ( 6 minutes ago )
House oversight panel backs subpoena for WH counselor Conway
The House Oversight Committee has voted to issue a subpoena forcing White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to appear
1:50PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Trump calls out Rapinoe for comments about White House visit
Trump criticizes US star Rapinoe on Twitter for her comments about possible White House visit
1:45PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Photos of migrant father and daughter spark global anguish
Photos of migrant father and daughter spark global anguish, from the Vatican to the U.S. Congress
1:44PM ( 18 minutes ago )
California seeks to bring high-tech to state government
Gov. Gavin Newsom wants state government to start acting more like a business when it comes to providing services for California's nearly 40 million residents
1:37PM ( 25 minutes ago )