UConn Returns to Big East Conference

A marquee welcoming UConn back to the Big East seen outside Madison Square Garden along 7th Avenue in Manhattan on June 27, 2019. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
UConn's return to the Big East Conference was announced at a press conference today at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

The Big East Conference announced today that the University of Connecticut will rejoin the conference as a full member, with the year of entry to be determined at a later date. One of seven original members of the Conference, Connecticut competed as a Big East school for the first 34 years of the Conference’s existence, beginning in 1979-80 and continuing through 2012-13. The announcement was made at a press conference at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Connecticut’s membership was authorized by the unanimous vote of all 10 Big East presidents. On Wednesday, UConn’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept the Big East’s invitation.

The addition of UConn will increase the number of full members in the Big East to 11 institutions. The University currently competes in the American Athletic Conference.

“On the 40th anniversary of our founding in 1979, we’re very excited to welcome back the University of Connecticut, a Big East charter member,” said Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman. “As a group of schools rooted in basketball pre-eminence, we can think of no better partner than UConn to join us in perpetuating the rivalries, traditions, and successes that have made the Big East unlike any other conference in college basketball. We know that our competitions and the experiences of our student-athletes, coaches, and supporters across all of our sports will be greatly enriched by UConn’s return.”

“The Big East is an incredibly special and enduring part of our heritage,” said UConn President Susan Herbst. “We were a founding member 40 years ago. Our programs grew and thrived in this conference over decades. The intensity of the competition, the passion of our rivalries, and all of our most triumphant wins and toughest losses helped to make us who we are. Coming back here means UConn is coming home. We are excited about the future.”

The University of Connecticut has an enrollment of more than 30,000 students and currently sponsors 24 sports. The Huskies will participate in 20 of the Big East’s 22 sports.

The Big East recently marked the 40th anniversary of its founding, which dates back to May 29, 1979.  As one of the Conference’s founding members, UConn enjoyed significant athletic successes over more than three decades of Big East competition, including 80 conference championship titles across all sports.

The Huskies were especially successful in men’s and women’s basketball during their previous run in the Big East. As a member school, the men’s basketball program won 10 regular season titles and seven Big East Tournament championships, in addition to national titles in 1999, 2004, and 2011. The UConn women’s basketball program has won or shared 19 Big East regular season titles and captured 18 Big East Tournament crowns, including 16 titles over a 19 year span (1994-2012). The women’s program also earned eight of its 11 national championships as a Big East school.

Connecticut’s field hockey program has remained an associate member of the Big East following the Conference’s membership reconfiguration in 2013. The Huskies have won the league’s field hockey championship in each of the past seven years, and have earned 18 overall conference titles as a Big East member, highlighted by three national championships in the past six years. The UConn women’s lacrosse team also participated in the Big East as an associate member through 2017-18.

Headquartered in New York City, the Big East’s members are located in seven of the country’s top 36 largest media markets and include Butler University, University of Connecticut, Creighton University, DePaul University, Georgetown University, Marquette University, Providence College, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, Villanova University, and Xavier University.

For more information, visit www.bigeast.com.