SBD/July 18, 2014/Colleges

Big East's Stu Jackson Says Conference Is Facing A Critical Time In Its Growth

New Big East Conference Senior Associate Commissioner/Men's Basketball Stu Jackson said "part of my mission" is to strengthen the conference, because it "historically has had great tradition with storied programs and everyone is aware of its history and we're at a pivotal time in terms of continuing to build on that tradition and an excellent brand going forward in a 10-team league." Jackson, appearing on Milwaukee-based WSSP-AM, added, "We can't equate the 10-team league with a 16-team league that it was formally, but if the opportunity for growth and building upon that old tradition is really, really positive. What we have to do is continue to field teams that are at a national level ... and we think we have the opportunity to do that." Jackson said of whether he feels the conference needs football to be competitive nationally, "We want to be the best basketball-centric league in the country, and if that means we need to continue to make our programs stronger or out in the future we expanded the league, we want to do things and brand ourselves as the premier basketball league in the country." The "reality is we don’t have football and we're not one of the soon-to-be super five conferences, but what we do want to be is the best collegiate basketball league in the country and I have no doubts that we will." But Jackson said the Big East "can't get ahead of ourselves" in terms of expansion because "we have first got to build on the strength of the ten teams that we have." Jackson: "Once we do that and are able to maybe take another step and grow the conference, so be it" ("Chuck and Wickett," WSSP-AM, 7/16).
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