Aug. 18, 2009
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -
The BIG EAST Conference has reached a four-year agreement with Florida Citrus Sports and the Champs Sports Bowl to send a team to the Orlando, Fla., game beginning in the 2010 season.
The Champs Sports Bowl will have the first selection from the BIG EAST after the league's BCS representative has been determined. The BIG EAST's opponent for the game for 2010-13 is to be determined. The payout to the BIG EAST could reach $2.4 million.
"We are thrilled to be a partner with the Champs Sports Bowl, said BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto. "I know our schools are very excited about the agreement. Orlando is an outstanding destination for our teams and fans. It's going to be a great experience for everyone. The Champs Sports Bowl is an outstanding addition to the BIG EAST bowl lineup."
"We are very excited about gaining another top pick through the BIG EAST and Notre Dame," said Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports. "If we are successful in signing our other planned selections, it will be tough to argue that Orlando doesn't deliver the best week of the college football postseason."
The Champs Sports Bowl will have the opportunity to select Notre Dame once during the four-year agreement.
The dates for the Champs Sports Bowl will remain Dec. 27, 28 or 29. The game will have an exclusive window on ESPN.
BIG EAST teams compiled a 4-2 bowl record in 2008 and a 12-4 mark over the last three years. The league has proved to be extremely balanced in recent years. Four teams have won or shared the conference crown over the last three seasons. Cincinnati won the title outright in 2008. West Virginia and Connecticut shared the crown in 2007. Louisville won in 2006. Rutgers and USF have appeared in bowl games in each of the past four years. This season, the BIG EAST media poll tabbed Pittsburgh to finish first.
Since 1994, the BIG EAST has had a relationship with the Gator Bowl that has included the conference's top selection after the BCS representative has been determined. "We have been fortunate to have had a long and fruitful partnership with the Gator Bowl for 16 years," said Marinatto. "We enjoyed the relationship, but our athletic directors and head football coaches were unanimous in the decision to forge a deal with the Champs Sports Bowl."
The BIG EAST Conference was created in 1979, is a founding member of the Bowl Championship Series and represents eight Division I-A member institutions for football including the University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, University of Louisville, University of Pittsburgh, Rutgers University, University of South Florida, Syracuse University and West Virginia University.
The Bearcats will open the 2009 season on Monday, Sept. 7, in a 4 p.m. BIG EAST Conference game at Rutgers. Season tickets are available now by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX or visiting CATSTIX.com.