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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Impressions: Big East media day

By Myron Medcalf

NEW YORK CITY -- Val Ackerman believes the Big East is still the Big East.

In her opening address during the league’s media day event at Chelsea Piers on Wednesday, the Big East commissioner told reporters that she expects the conference to possess the same strength that it had in the pre-realignment years.

Ackerman, the former president of the WNBA, turned into a boxing promoter while she hyped the league as it prepares for its new beginning.

Val Ackerman
Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said the conference isn't looking to expand from 10 teams.
“We’re going to make this basketball conference a force,” she said.

This league is obviously different. A summer split with the previous version of the Big East resulted in seven former Big East squads linking up with Creighton, Xavier and Butler to form the new conference.

She acknowledged that the conference feels some pressure to prove that it’s still a power league in its inaugural year.

“There’s no doubt the eyes of the basketball world and the eyes of others in college sports are definitely on the Big East,” she said. “I think everybody in our league uses that as a source of motivation.”

There are, however, no immediate plans to expand. Ackerman said the conference will be “very selective” if it ever decides to add teams.

“Ten is a good number,” she said.

I think the Big East recognizes that it is not the same league, now that former powers Louisville, Syracuse, UConn, Pitt and Notre Dame are gone. But the new members certainly believe in the Big East’s ability to maintain a slot as one of college basketball's power conferences this season.

The overall success of league favorites Marquette, Georgetown and Creighton will certainly be pivotal in that aspiration.

Other impressions and notes: