The BIG EAST Conference announced that San Diego State University has accepted an invitation to join the league in the sport of football beginning with the 2013-14 academic year.
San Diego State will officially become a member of the BIG EAST on July 1, 2013.
Most other SDSU sports will begin play in the Big West Conference, starting in the 2013-14 academic year.
SDSU joins Boise State, Houston, Southern Methodist and Central Florida as the newest members of the league. The aforementioned five will join a football league that also consists of Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers and South Florida.
"I am extremely excited about our prospects for joining the BIG EAST in football,” said San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman. “This new conference affiliation will provide extraordinary opportunities for our student-athletes, our coaches and staff, our alumni and supporters and the entire University."
“This is a very important day in the history of the San Diego State athletic department,” SDSU Athletic Director Jim Sterk said. “This affiliation with the BIG EAST Conference allows us to compete at the highest level in college football. This will give the athletic department and University attention on a national stage that we have not had before.”
"We are proud to welcome San Diego State University to the BIG EAST family," said BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto. “Much like the conference as a whole, the BIG EAST name -- though derived 32 years ago based on the geography of our founding members -- has evolved into a highly respected brand that transcends borders, boundaries or regions. It’s national. Our membership makeup is now reflective of that."
BCS, bowl tie-ins and TV
The BIG EAST is one of six conferences with an automatic berth to one of five Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games. The BCS includes the Rose Bowl Game, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl and the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.
In addition to the BCS automatic berth, the BIG EAST has tie-ins to:
- Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando, Fla.)
- Belk Bowl (Charlotte, N.C.)
- New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx, N.Y.)
- BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.)
- AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Tenn.)
- Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
The move to the BIG EAST provides San Diego State’s football program with national television exposure through ABC, ESPN, BIG EAST Network, SportsNet New York (SNY) and the BIG EAST/IMG Sports National Radio Network.
SDSU football history
San Diego State, which led the Mountain West in home attendance this season (39,865), has a storied football tradition.
The program has won 18 conference championships and participated in nine bowl games, including last season’s Poinsettia Bowl, which resulted in a 35-14 victory over Navy.
A year after posting a 9-4 record, the Aztecs finished the 2011 season with an 8-4 mark and recently accepted an invitation to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl where they will face Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 17. The back-to-back bowl appearances mark the first time San Diego State has accomplished that feat in its Division I history.
Individually, SDSU has produced 144 NFL draft picks, including 52 top-100 selections, and 104 All-Americans, including 19 first-teamers. In 2011 alone, San Diego State had the nation’s third-leading rusher and had seven all-conference first-team picks, two second-teamers and one honorable mention choice.
Aztecs to Join Big West
SDSU athletics, except for football and select sports, will begin Big West play in 2013-14.