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Officials: UConn not committed to staying in Big East

CBSSports.com wire reports
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STORRS, Conn. -- Multiple officials at Connecticut say the school has not committed to staying in the Big East Conference and continues to look at other conference options.

The officials, who asked that their names not be used because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations, denied that Connecticut and Rutgers agreed to stay in the conference during a three-hour meeting among Big East football members on Tuesday.

Commissioner John Marianatto emerged from that meeting to say that all the members had "pledged to each other that they are committed to move forward together."

But the Connecticut officials said that when Marianatto asked each school in turn to commit to the conference, officials from Connecticut and Rutgers agreed to continue talks, but both indicated they would ultimately do what was in best interests of their own schools.

Connecticut President Susan Herbst issued a statement Wednesday thanking fans for their patience during what she described as a "period of instability" in college athletics.

"Please know that we will always do what is in the best interests for the University of Connecticut," she said. "We remain committed to our ideals and principals in intercollegiate athletics and will continue to achieve excellence academically and athletically."

Herbst did not attend Tuesday's meeting in New York. The school instead sent Rachel Rubin, her chief of staff, and Paul McCarthy, who is acting as UConn's athletic director until Paul Pendergast takes over the position on Oct. 1.

On Tuesday, Herbst told the Associated Press that UConn is looking at multiple options, but has not ruled out remaining in a reconstituted Big East Conference.

"Our number-one priority is to be in a conference where we match academically, that's the most important thing, where the other president's the other ADs share our desire to focus on the student-athlete," she said. "We're talking to a lot of people, we have to, and I think that would be true for most presidents in our situation at this time, and trying to figure out what is our best bet."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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