The University of Dayton’s athletic programs will not become a part of the newly formed Big East Conference slated to begin on July 1 for the 2013-2014 season.
In a statement released by the university on Wednesday, March 20, Dayton said it would ”continue to aggressively pursue the best interests of the institution, our student-athletes, alumni, supporters and fans. The University is committed to being both a Catholic leader in higher education and fielding highly competitive athletic programs.”
Dayton’s statement continued:
“A period of instability has persisted within intercollegiate athletics for the last few years and will continue. Details surrounding conference realignment are highly confidential.
“The University will continue to communicate with our alumni, supporters and fans about any significant developments impacting our conference affiliation.
“The University of Dayton is committed to competing in a conference that provides a platform for success for all of our sports programs and, specifically, men’s basketball. University and athletics administration continue to make conference affiliation a top priority.”
At an announcement of a contract between the new Big East and the newly formed Fox Sports 1 television channel on Wednesday, both Butler University and Xavier University were said to be among the three new members of the conference, along with Creighton University from the Missouri Valley Conference.
The new Big East was formed after DePaul University, Georgetown University, Marquette University, Providence University, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University and Villanova University broke away from the current conference known as the Big East. The current conference with that name will officially change to an unannounced name on July 1.
With the departures of Xavier and Butler, as well as Temple University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who have both previously announced they are leaving the conference at the end of the season, 12 schools will remain in the A-10 next season.
A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade released a statement on the departures of Xavier and Butler:
“I wish Xavier University and Butler University all the best in their new conference … As a longtime strong A-10 member, Xavier’s departure is unfortunate. Butler’s departure is a by-product of the chaotic conference realignment environment. BU’s association with the A-10 has been a fun ride this year; no regrets from the Atlantic 10 for providing a home for them during the 2012-13 season.”
Multiple reports have suggested that Dayton, along with fellow A-10 member Saint Louis University, may be amongst a group of schools to be the next two candidates to join the new Big East if it were to expand to 12 schools in the future.
With the exit of Xavier from the A-10, the longtime rivalry game between Dayton and Xavier becomes uncertain for the foreseeable future.
In an emailed statement to Flyer News regarding keeping games with Xavier on sports schedules, particularly in men’s basketball, UD athletic director Tim Wabler said:
“Of course we would like to continue our rivalries with Xavier in all sports. We cannot completely predict how scheduling will work out until we have those conversations with them, as well as our respective conferences.
“As we do that, our focus will continue to be doing everything we can to be a robust and successfully athletics program, win conference championships, reach and advance in NCAA tournaments, and graduate highly-accomplished student athletes at a nationally-recognized level.”
Dayton and Xavier have met 160 times in men’s basketball, the most for both schools against any other team. Dayton holds an 85-75 lead in the series, winning the most recent meeting 70-59 on Feb. 16 at UD Arena.