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CUSA Commish on Realignment

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CHICAGO – Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky has issued the following statements in light of recent developments in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East Conference concerning Division I conference realignments.

"For many weeks Conference USA has been actively monitoring the situations in the ACC and the Big East, and we have had open communication with the leaders of both conferences. We considered it a priority not to participate in public speculation about those matters, and have not.

At the same time, the Conference has been working internally to understand the effect that the membership changes in the ACC and Big East might have on Conference USA, and developing strategies to best position the Conference and its members for the future. In that regard, we continue to realize the benefit of a consulting relationship with Charles Neinas of Neinas Sports Services, who has been engaged to assist the Conference’s analysis of conference realignment.

While the outcomes of this work are important, equally important to Conference USA is the utilization of an open and orderly process to ensure the full range of issues are carefully analyzed and the potential harm from the outcomes is effectively managed and minimized. We have the assurance of the Big East Conference, as well as others, that they share our desire to operate in an open and honest way which reflects the values of higher education, and we trust that this will be the case. It is important for us to keep in mind that we are universities, not professional sports franchises, and rightfully held to a higher standard.

We do not anticipate this process to move quickly as both the Big East and Conference USA have a significant amount of work to do in determining what is best for the future. If it does, we will be prepared. However, it has been suggested by many that no membership changes should occur until the 2005-06 season, and we absolutely support that time frame. We have agreed to approach this opportunity

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