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Butler, Xavier, Creighton join new Big East

Butler, Xavier and Creighton are bound for the new Big East.

The three institutions will join the seven Catholic schools who left to form a new basketball conference that is keeping the Big East name.

The league also announced Wednesday a 12-year television partnership with Fox Sports.

DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova reached an agreement earlier this month that allows them to depart from the old Big East Conference this summer.

The Catholic 7 negotiated to keep their basketball tournament at New York's venerable Madison Square Garden.

Butler and Xavier are leaving the Atlantic 10 Conference, while Creighton is defecting from the Missouri Valley Conference. The move to the basketball centric conference for the three schools will become effective July 1.

Butler spent just one season in the A-10, losing in the semifinals of the conference's tournament. The Bulldogs rose to prominence after making back-to- back appearances in the national championship game in 2010-11 out of the Horizon League. Butler is the East Region's sixth seed in this year's NCAA Tournament.

"Joining the Big East is an unprecedented opportunity for Butler and represents an ideal fit for us - academically, athletically, and geographically," said Butler president James M. Danko in a statement.

One of the premier programs outside of the so-called power conferences, Xavier missed the NCAA Tournament this season for just the second time in the last 13 years.

"It's an endorsement of who we are and how we've gotten here, as well as where we can go next," said Xavier President Michael J. Graham, S.J., in a statement.

The Musketeers joined the Atlantic 10 in 1995 and captured four league tournament championships.

Creighton, the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region of this year's tourney, won its second straight MVC Tournament title.

"This rare opportunity caused us to examine closely Creighton's future and the future of other Division I conferences," Creighton president Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., said in a statement. "We have enjoyed our affiliation with the Missouri Valley Conference over the years, but when an exceptional opportunity presented itself, we paused and carefully considered our options. We see this new partnership enhancing the visibility of the University through increased national media exposure. This will positively impact our athletic programs, recruitment of students and faculty, and cultivation of additional philanthropic opportunities."

The Bluejays, who have won at least 20 games in 13 of the past 14 seasons, have been a member of the Missouri Valley Conference since rejoining the league in 1977.