After weeks of media speculation, it is now official: Butler University will be a member of the Big East.
Butler will enter the new Big East—consisting of the seven Catholic schools departing the current Big East—alongside Xavier and Creighton on July 1.
Butler President Jim Danko officially announced the school’s intention to leave the Atlantic 10 Conference after one academic year through a video in Butler’s Johnson Room this morning.
Ben Hunter, chief of staff, said school officials were delighted to receive an invitation to the Big East.
“For us, it creates long-term stability not only for the university’s athletics and academics, but it gives us greater control over the decisions that impact our sports program,” Hunter said.
Butler’s football team will remain in the Pioneer Football League, as it did when the school jumped to the A-10.
The women’s golf team will leave the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and join the rest of Butler’s athletic teams in the Big East.
“Joining the Big East is an unprecedented opportunity for Butler and represents an ideal fit for us—academically, athletically and geographically,” Danko said in a press release.
Hunter said he was unsure how much it would cost the university to leave the A-10 on such short notice.
Previous reports from the Associated Press said Butler would be forced to pay a $2 million exit fee, for not giving 27 months notice before switching conferences.
Xavier will also depart from the A-10, while Creighton will jump from the Missouri Valley Conference.
The three schools will join the ‘Catholic 7’ in the Big East after those seven schools purchased the rights to the conference name.
The seven schools already in the Big East are: DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova.
“This new opportunity to compete against Big East universities—which have a rich tradition of excellence across a wide range of sports—will enhance the Butler experience for all our student-athletes,” said Barry Collier, vice president of athletics, in the release.
This is the fifth athletic conference Butler has been a member of since 1946, excluding a yearlong independent stint.
Butler was a charter member of what eventually became the Horizon League in 1979, and the school stayed there until leaving for the A-10 in 2012.
“The A-10, like the Horizon League, is an outstanding conference, and we were honored to be a member,” Danko said in the release. “After in-depth deliberations and analyses, we determined that joining the Big East was the right thing to do for our students and our institution, regardless of the timing of past conference transitions.”
Hunter said the move is a bold moment for Butler and is a culmination of Danko and past presidents’ leadership.
“This is writing the next chapter of Butler University,” Hunter said. “This is a truly momentous change for the university. I hope there’s great excitement around this, not only for the opportunities it brings in sports, but also in academics.”