Big East Focuses on Hoops at Annual Meeting

NEW YORK – The BIG EAST Conference held its Annual Summer Meeting from May 19-21 at Ponte Vedra, Fla., to review business and sport management plans for the 2015-16 academic year and to discuss key conference and national topics relating to basketball, governance and student-athlete welfare.

BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman and senior conference staff led the meetings, with the 10 BIG EAST member schools represented by their respective athletics directors, senior woman administrators, and head coaches in men’s and women’s basketball.

The meetings included reports by Dan Gavitt, NCAA Vice President for Men’s Basketball; Anucha Browne, NCAA Vice President for Women’s Basketball; and Art Hyland, NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules-Secretary. Institutional representatives reviewed a host of areas relating to the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, including game scheduling, playing rules, officiating, and conference tournament planning. Plans were also discussed for the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an eight-year men’s basketball scheduling alliance between the BIG EAST and the Big Ten which will launch in November. The conference confirmed that its 2015-16 Basketball Media Day will be held on Wednesday, October 14 at Madison Square Garden.

The meetings also included robust sessions with senior production and programming representatives from FOX Sports, the conference’s national television partner, to discuss coverage plans for 2015-16, which will again feature extensive exposure of men’s and women’s basketball and other conference championships. BIG EAST basketball is carried on the FOX Broadcast Network, FOX Sports 1 -- the nation’s fastest growing sports network -- and FOX Sports 2. Plans for unique features in ’15-16 will include expanded in-game huddle access segments for all men’s basketball games and additional ancillary programming. Bill Raftery, the lead color analyst for BIG EAST men’s basketball games on FS1, was in attendance at the meetings and was recognized for his upcoming induction into the prestigious National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.

The BIG EAST will significantly increase the number of contests carried on the BIG EAST Digital Network (BEDN), which will continue to be hosted on Fox’s mobile platform, FOXSports Go, which reaches more than 60 million subscribers. In 2015-16, the conference will double the number of live events streamed on BEDN to 225, with all league women’s basketball contests to be shown and expanded coverage to be provided to men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball and lacrosse.

Institutional representatives also received updates on:

• BIG EAST SERVES, a conference-wide platform created to support the academic, community, leadership, and service missions of the 10 BIG EAST member schools.

• The BIG EAST Health and Safety Working Group, which is made up of trainers, doctors and other institutional representatives and is tracking national developments and recommending conference protocols relating to student-athlete health and welfare.

• The newly created BIG EAST Presidents’ Award, which will be presented annually to a member institution that has excelled in the areas of academics, athletics and citizenship. The inaugural award, reflecting performance during the 2014-15 academic year, will be presented in September.

• Promotional content for “The BIG EAST Way,” which will continue as the conference’s brand marketing platform.

• The re-design of the BIG EAST website, which will be re-launched on July 1 and powered by Sidearm Sports.

• NCAA governance and legislative matters. BIG EAST representatives on newly created NCAA governance structures include: Georgetown President Jack DeGioia (Committee on Academics); Commissioner Val Ackerman (Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee); DePaul Athletics Director Jean Lenti Pontsetto (NCAA Council member and Chair, Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee); Sr. Associate Commissioner, Administration and NCAA Relations Joe D’Antonio (Legislative Committee); and Associate Commissioner for Compliance and Governance Jennifer Condaras (Student-Athlete Experience Committee). Sr. Associate Commissioner for Men’s Basketball Stu Jackson was also recently appointed to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee.

• The conference also recognized Creighton Athletics Director Bruce Rasmussen, a member of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee, who was recently named an Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

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