November 27, 2012
Green Wave will join the Big East in all sports in 2014
Tulane president Scott Cowen said his hand shook Tuesday as he signed the contract that put the Green Wave in the Big East. The league's shaky status in football did not discourage him from a decision he and almost everyone around him consider a huge upgrade from Conference USA.
It's not a Big Five conference, but it's the next best thing.
""The undefeated season in 1998 (football) was pretty big, but in terms of long-term impact on the university for athletics, without a doubt this is it," Cowen said when asked if this was the biggest moment in Tulane athletics under his tenure. "It will impact the future of athletics for decades to come."
Starting in 2014, Tulane will trade in the likes of UTEP and incoming C-USA members Texas-San Antonio, North Texas, Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion for what Cowen and athletic director Rick Dickson hope will be Louisville, Cincinnati and Connecticut, among others. All three of them could be gone in two years, but whatever the Big East looks like by then, it will be better than the remnants of Conference USA.
As it stands now, the 14 football-playing members of the Big East in 2014 will be Tulane, East Carolina (which announced Tuesday it would join in football only starting in 2014), Houston, UCF, Memphis, SMU, Boise State, San Diego State, Navy, South Florida, Temple, Louisville, Cincinnati and Connecticut. Navy will join for football only in 2015.
It is not exactly a regional-friendly lineup for Tulane, but it fits the profile of the Green Wave's student body and alumni base.
"There's an overlap of 80 percent to the Big East footprint," Cowen said. "That's unbelievably impressive to us."
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