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December 7, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC, December 7, 2011 — The BIG EAST Conference announced today that it has reached an agreement for the admission of five new members. Covington & Burling represented the BIG EAST in its negotiations with each of the five schools.
Under the agreements, University of Central Florida, University of Houston and Southern Methodist University will begin competing in all BIG EAST-sponsored sports in the 2013‐14 academic year and Boise State and San Diego State will start competing in football in the 2013 season.
“Over the last 32 years, the BIG EAST Conference has constantly evolved along with landscape of college athletics,” said BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto. “The inclusion of these five great universities, which bring a unique blend of premier academics, top markets, strong athletics brands and outstanding competitive quality, marks the beginning of a new chapter in that evolution. We are proud to welcome these schools to the BIG EAST family.”
Mr. Marinatto praised Covington’s legal counsel. “Our legal relationship with Covington & Burling has been extremely beneficial and integral to our expansion discussions as well as our television planning,” Mr. Marinatto said.
The move secures a strong core group of FBS schools as the conference expands into two divisions and works toward its goal of staging an annual conference football championship game.
With these five new members, the Conference will continue to have the single largest media footprint in college football, spanning from coast to coast and all the major regions in between.
These expansion efforts will create a very unique synergy within the Conference and allow creative football scheduling for the future given that the league will have schools in four different time zones under its auspices.
The Washington-based team was led by corporate partner Peter Zern with associate Scott Roades.
“I would like to single out Peter Zern for his expertise, professionalism and counsel over the course of the past year,” Mr. Marinatto said. “Peter has been incredibly responsive to our many needs during some difficult times, and, along with his associates, has been available to us essentially on a 24/7 basis.”