VILLANOVA, Pa. – Today (March 7), following a unanimous vote by the Big East Conference's Board of Directors on a motion put forward by Villanova University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, Ph.D., Temple University was invited into the conference in football beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, and as a full member in all sports in 2013-2014.
"Villanova is proud to welcome Temple to the Big East," Fr. Donohue said. "Villanova, the Big East and Temple are all well positioned in the Philadelphia market with this agreement. Students, alumni and fans will also enjoy the increased rivalry between our schools."
As part of the Big East expansion process, Fr. Donohue worked closely with the conference presidents with the shared goals of strengthening the conference overall, inviting Temple to join as a full member, and ensuring that the conference and both universities are prepared to succeed in Philadelphia. The Big East specifically recognized the equity that Villanova, as a founding member with 30 years' standing in the conference, has cultivated within the Philadelphia market, the fourth largest in the nation. Areas of collaboration include assuring that the scheduling of games and television programming maximizes exposure nationally and locally.
"We welcome Temple to the Big East family," said Jay Wright, Villanova head men's basketball coach. "Temple and Villanova will work well together to ensure the Big East's status as an elite conference and to make Philadelphia a great Big East city. We look forward to adding new chapters to our great rivalry with Temple in the years to come."
As part of this decision, the Big East Board of Directors also expressed its support for Villanova's football program and its place as a prime candidate in the conference's future expansion. Fr. Donohue added, "We appreciate the Big East's demonstration of support for our football program, which provides Villanova with financial resources to continue positioning our football program in the context of supporting our Strategic Plan."
The Villanova Strategic Plan
Villanova is implementing its Strategic Plan through imperatives related to five key areas: academic distinction throughout all colleges; increased enrollment of high-achieving students through efforts including improved financial aid and a greater focus on diversity; investments in faculty scholarship and graduate programs; effective communication of Villanova's unique identity and story; and significant growth of the Villanova endowment.
As part of the Strategic Plan, the University will continue to strongly support its athletics programs and student-athletes. With over half of the Villanova student body playing sports at the varsity, club, or intramural level, and hundreds more participating as band members, cheerleaders, staff members, and fans, athletics have always played – and will continue to play – an integral role in the quality of student life at Villanova. By investing in excellence in athletics, the University advances important parts of the student promise outlined in its Strategic Plan -- including a strong community and a holistic educational experience.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.
The Villanova Wildcats have proven their athletic success over the long term by earning over 75 Big East Conference championships and sending nearly 60 athletes to the Olympic Games. Villanova also hosts the largest student-run Special Olympics Fall Festival games in the world. The University's football program has graduated NFL greats including Howie Long and Brian Westbrook, and won the NCAA Football Championship in 2009. For more information, see www.villanova.edu.