Pete Paguaga, Sports Phanatic:
Last week, the Southern Connecticut Athletic Department received a gracious donation from an anonymous donor. With this money, Athletic Director Pat Nicol said that the athletic department would move all varsity Division-II teams to full-time Division-I.
“The athletic department received a donation
from an anonymous source and we will use this donation to move all varsity sports to the Division-I level,” said Nicol. “We have also received a call from the Big East about joining them for all of our sports.”
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto is excited about having the Owls join the Big East starting in the 2012-2013 school year.
“Being able to add such a successful institution such as Southern Connecticut is a huge step for the Big East,” said Marinatto.
St. Johns Univesity will be leaving the Big East to make room for the Owls.
“St. Johns University is really pissed about the addition of Southern,” said Marinatto, “so they have decided to leave the conference and join the NEC conference.”
Southern will have all 17 of its varsity teams move to the Big East.
“We are so excited to be able to make the move to the Big East,” said Nicol. “Our women’s basketball team won the National Championship
only a few years ago, and all of our teams are competitive year in and year out.”
Men’s basketball Coach Michael Donnelly is very happy for his team and likes the challenge of competing in the hardest conference in the country for basketball.
“It will definitely be a challenge,” said Donnelly.
“My team responds well to challenges–just look at what we accomplished last season, no one expected us to do that well.”
Rich Cavanaugh, head coach of the football team, is confident that his team will be competitive in the Big East football conference.
“The Big East football conference isn’t that competitive at all,” said Cavanaugh.
“I give my team three years until we win the Big East and are playing in a BCS game.”
With the funding that goes into having the entire school’s varsity teams in Division-I, most of the sports facilities will have to be renovated and have seats added to meet the Division-I requirements.
“Within the next five years, we will have to renovate the sport facilities on campus,” said Nicol. “Because of the high cost of this and the honor that being Division-I brings to the school, President Battle has agreed to suspend construction
on academic buildings for now.”
The money from the donation, combined with the money taken from the Buley Library and the business school project, will be more than enough to cover the renovating of the sports facilities, said Nicol.
Faculty members are very upset by President Battle’s decision, saying that he is putting
athletics above education, which isn’t right.
“The only way to get this school on the map is through athletics,” said Battle. “Kids in high school want to go to schools that they see on TV, it gives them something to be proud of.”
Marinatto believes it might take Southern a few years to be competitive, unlike the confidence of some of the Southern coaches, but he said there are three teams of Southern’s the other Big East teams should be worried about.
“The baseball team, men’s and women’s track and the men’s and women’s swim teams,” said Marinatto. “They are very skilled and will be competing for Big East Championships as soon as they join the conference.”
Southern’s first game in the Big East will be a football game against the University of Connecticut at Rentschler Field at 1 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2012.
“I will have my team well prepared to take on UConn,” said Cavanaugh. “They will be no match for the Owls.”
Spoof: The Big East to add Southern for the 2012 season
Pete Paguaga, Sports Phanatic: