Memphis to join Big East

The Sports Xchange

Welcome to the Big East, Memphis.

The Tigers officially accepted an invitation to join the Big East in all sports beginning in 2013.

"It certainly is an historic day for us," University of Memphis president Shirley Raines said on a teleconference with Big East commissioner John Marinatto and Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson.

This move is mostly about basketball, where the Tigers have made 23 NCAA tournament

appearances, including the national title game in 1973 and 2008. They've also reached the

Final Four in 1985 and lost in three other regional finals.

In addition to Memphis, the Big East will be adding Central Florida, Houston, SMU, Navy,

San Diego State and Boise State in the coming years, while West Virginia, Pittsburgh and

Syracuse will depart. The new Big East has a plan to get to 12 football teams and eventually

hold a conference championship game.

The Tigers have been searching for a new home since losing out to Louisville when the Big

East expanded in 2005. Leaving Conference USA for the 2013-14 season will cost Memphis

$500,000 plus its share of television rights revenue, which is about $6.13 million, a league

spokeswoman told

Marinatto called Memphis a "perfect fit."

"There were a number of contributing factors for our membership in making the decision to invite Memphis, including among other reasons its geography in the heart of our future membership makeup, its Central time zone presence, its top-50 media market, as well as its outstanding corporate and community support, quality athletic facilities and the overall brand and competitiveness of its athletic programs," he said.

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