Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni:
I am writing to share with you some recent conversations that have taken place regarding the Villanova Football program and its relationship with the Big East Conference. As you know, the program currently competes in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA. The student-athletes, coaches, and administrators are excellent representatives of the University and have established a winning tradition that culminated with a national championship last year.
The landscape of college athletics continues to face dramatic changes and there has been a great deal of speculation over the past few months regarding conference realignments nationwide. The Big East Conference has not been immune to such speculation and Villanova’s position regarding football has been frequently discussed on the internet, in the media, and among alumni around the country.
Prior to Labor Day, Big East Commissioner John Marinatto paid a visit to Villanova and reported that the football schools were interested in adding Villanova as a football member of the Conference. We currently compete in the Big East in all other varsity sports, however, joining the Conference as a football member would require that the program move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A. This would represent a significant change for the University and its Athletic Department.
As part of the University’s Strategic Planning process, the Board of Trustees Athletic Committee has been studying all of our athletic programs. After consulting with our Board’s leadership and the President’s Cabinet, we have decided that the most prudent course of action is to expedite our timeframe and embark upon an in-depth and thorough evaluation of this opportunity presented by the Big East. This is a complicated issue with many multi-dimensional factors that come into play, and it is important that we investigate scenarios related to making—or not making—such a move.
More than likely, you will read or hear speculation from outside sources as we conduct this assessment. I ask you to consider it just that – speculation. As we undertake this evaluation, I can assure you that a decision will be made only after the Board of Trustees conducts a careful and complete analysis. We will do what’s right for Villanova and will not jeopardize our community-wide commitment to meeting the University’s strategic objectives.
I will keep you informed as we move forward through this process.
Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., President