NEW YORK (AP) — The BIG EAST and Big Ten Conferences have announced the establishment of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an annual early-season series of eight men’s basketball games played between the two conferences and named in honor of Dave Gavitt, founder of the BIG EAST and basketball visionary.
The Gavitt Tipoff Games will be played on four consecutive days in the first full week of the college basketball season. The series begins at the start of the 2015-16 season and will span eight years, with games played at home sites.
The unique series between the two conferences is named to honor the late Gavitt, who had a profound and lasting influence on the sport of basketball on the collegiate, professional and Olympic levels. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
The Gavitt Tipoff Games will feature four home contests each for BIG EAST and Big Ten schools on an annual basis from 2015 through 2022. Two games will be played on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the first full week of each season. Each BIG EAST team will participate a minimum of six times over the eight years, while Big Ten programs will participate a minimum of four times.
Television coverage of the Gavitt Tipoff Games will be controlled by the conference of the home team. BIG EAST home games will be telecast by FOX Sports 1, while Big Ten home matchups will appear on ESPN or BTN.
Teams from both conferences already meet in some traditional rivalry games, and those matchups will continue during the 2014-15 season. The full schedule of eight games will be announced in late spring of each year.
“We are excited to honor Dave Gavitt and his contributions to the sport of basketball through the establishment of the Gavitt Tipoff Games,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “Dave was a friend and a mentor to me and often mentioned that college basketball should do a better job of tipping off the season, similar to opening day in baseball. I think he would approve of our effort to start a new tipoff tradition, grow the game and serve the best interests of the student-athletes and coaches in these two great conferences.”
“We look forward to partnering with the Big Ten to stage a new series of basketball games among our schools and to pay homage to Dave Gavitt, the BIG EAST’s founder, who was an inspiration to many of us and one of the most impactful contributors in the sport of basketball,” said BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman. “We have natural connections with the Big Ten through our shared geographic regions, and these competitions promise some exciting new rivalries for our players, coaches and alumni. With March Madness, college basketball always ends with a flourish, and the Gavitt Tipoff Games will allow us to open the season with a bang as well.”
“On behalf of the entire Gavitt family, we are humbled and grateful for this incredible honor in Dave’s memory from the Big Ten and Big East Conferences,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Vice President of Men’s Basketball Championships and son of Dave Gavitt. “My father would love the spirit of creativity and friendship that these games represent to tip off the college basketball season. He would be most excited about the competitive experience that the games offer to the players and coaches of two great conferences.”
The Big Ten has made a series of announcements highlighting the conference’s increased presence on the East Coast, beginning with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers as future conference members in November 2012. Last June, the Big Ten announced the acceptance of Johns Hopkins University as the conference’s first sport affiliate member for men’s lacrosse and also announced an agreement to take part in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, sending conference football teams to play at Yankee Stadium on an annual basis. In April, the Big Ten announced that it would open a second office in New York City while securing access to satellite office space in Washington, D.C.
Maryland and Rutgers are set to officially join the Big Ten on July 1, 2014, giving the conference more than 520,000 total students and 5.7 million living alumni. The broad-based athletic programs of the 14 institutions will feature almost 9,500 student-athletes on 350 teams in 43 different sports. With the debut of men’s and women’s lacrosse during the 2014-15 academic year, the Big Ten will sponsor 28 official sports. Maryland and Rutgers are already members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, an academic consortium of Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago that is a model for effective and voluntary collaboration among top research universities. In 2012, Big Ten institutions produced over $9.5 billion in research expenditures.