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New Big East makes it official

DePaul's ClevelMelv(12) grabs loose ball during second half Allstate ArenRosemont Ill. Saturday January 19 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

DePaul's Cleveland Melvin (12) grabs a loose ball during the second half at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., on Saturday, January 19, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 8, 2013 2:36PM

Big East commissioner Mike Aresco made official Friday morning the separation of the conference’s seven non-football playing members to form a new ``Big East’’ that will begin July 1.

``With the long-term well-being of our outstanding institutions and their student-athletes of paramount important, each group worked through a number of complex issues in an orderly, comprehensive and amicable manner marked by mutual respect,’ he said in a statement. ``We part ways as friends and colleagues and look forward to the success of both conferences.’’

The seven schools include DePaul, Marquette, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s and Villanova.

Presidents from those schools issued a joint statement saying `we are grateful to commissioner Michael Aresco for spearheading an agreement that truly represents the best path forward for each of our great institutions and the thousands of student-athletes who compete for our schools annually.

``We are pleased that we reached this amicable and mutually-beneficial separation by approaching each issue with a spirit of cooperation and shared respect.’’

DePaul president the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider said in a statement the school is ``excited about the opportunities’’ the new league will offer.

``We wish the ongoing football members the very best as they establish their footprint in the college football landscape,’’ he added.

The seven schools will retain rights to the Big East name and to the current agreement with Madison Square Garden to hold the annual conference men’s basketball tournament. They will receive approximately $10 million and retain their ``unit’’ shares from the NCAA Tournament while paying the remaining football schools some $100 million.

Aresco said no new name for the old Big East has been chosen.

“We have not chosen a new conference name at this time and there are no favorites,’’ he said. ``We are going through a thoughtful evaluation of potential names for our conference, and will select a name in a timely manner through a comprehensive and deliberate process that involves our presidents and athletic directors as well as constituents from inside and outside the conference. We are excited about the prospect of re-branding and look forward to working with our institutions and our fans as we engage in this process.”

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