President's message

Moving forward:
the BIG EAST Conference and Virginia Tech

by Charles Steger '69

It is likely that you have read or heard of the proposed Atlantic Coast Conference expansion plans and the subsequent threat to the BIG EAST Conference. Without a doubt, if the ACC enacts its plan to take three schools from the BIG EAST, our league and our university will be affected financially and otherwise. While this issue has important implications to our future, the university will continue making opportunities through the empowerment of education like it has for more than 130 years.

Let me recount for you where we stand with the athletics conference situation. Since this story went public, we have made clear our desire for the BIG EAST to remain intact. Our affiliation with the BIG EAST has afforded us and other member schools numerous benefits. It provides excellent intercollegiate competition, good revenue sharing, access to the BCS, and significant exposure along the Atlantic seaboard. We believe that the BIG EAST is the place for Virginia Tech and are working diligently on multiple fronts not only to preserve it but to improve it.

It is not an understatement to say that this has been a top priority on campus. I have been in frequent contact with the governor, sports management executives, conference officials, and my fellow university presidents in both conferences. Along with our quest for academic and research excellence, this institution is committed to participating at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics. It is in our best interests to keep an open mind and work diligently to assure access to the circles that afford us those competitive opportunities.

As this column goes to press, the five remaining Big East division 1A football schools have a filed a lawsuit over this issue. This action was taken with great regret, but we felt that, in light of the circumstances, it was the only option left remaining. I believe that a positive outcome is still possible.

Regardless of what happens, the university continues to move forward on many fronts. Applications for admission remain at historically high levels. The academic records and intellectual capabilities of new graduates are better than ever. Our quest to be among the nation's leading universities is on track. We remain ranked among the nation's best public universities.