Dec. 12, 2011
Conference Realignment Central
Press Conference |
Press Conference Quotes |
Press Conference Quotes (PDF Format)
Fisher Interview |
Gwynn Interview |
Van Wyk Interview
San Diego State Press Conference Quotes
Re: SDSU accepting an invitation to join the Big West Conference
SDSU President Elliot Hirshman
"Good afternoon, I am Elliot Hirshman, President of San Diego State University. When we first began our discussions with the Big West, we were extremely impressed by their strategic vision and their focus on elevating their programs. As we learned more about the Big West, we became even more impressed. There's competition at the highest level with multiple programs having won national championships. If you have seen the recent men's basketball games against UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State, you know how strong the programs in the Big West are. Of course, you don't have to look just at our games; you can ask Pitt, USC, Utah, Washington State, Utah State and Boise State's men's basketball programs. They are all teams that have been defeated by Big West programs this season.
The Big West also includes some of our nation's finest academic institutions. Four of the institutions are ranked in the top 50 of public universities. The conference also offers us at San Diego State some unique opportunities given its geographic footprint in California. There will be less missed classes for our athletes and travel costs will be lower. This is particular important in sports where they are multiple matches or games.
The conference's television agreements also provide some important opportunities for our basketball teams to appear on ESPN and other regional networks. You may know that Long Beach State is appearing on ESPN five times this year. It's a tremendous opportunity, both for recruiting and for our fans.
Finally, with Hawai'i's entrance into the conference, it's going to be a great opportunity for our student-athletes to visit Hawai'i and that's something that will help us in recruiting and also will be a part of the student-athlete experience. For all of these reasons and many, many more, I'm extremely pleased to tell you that we will be joining the Big West Conference. It will provide extraordinary opportunities for our student-athletes, for our coaches and staff, for our alumni and supporters, and for our entire university."
On missed class time for the football team that will compete in the BIG EAST compared to the other teams that will compete in the Big West:
"When we looked at the travel requirements, we compared that. I'm assuming you're referring back to last week's announcement (of joining the BIG EAST in football) of what would be the additional travel requirements and what impact that would have on class. It's really minimal. Currently we are going to the East Coast for a number of games each year. As we change into another conference, it's like we play our out of conference games closer to home and that would offset some of those differences. There will be some small differences. Those are on the weekend, though, which obviously makes a big difference."
Director of Athletics Jim Sterk
"The last nine days have been historic for San Diego State in a number of ways. Last Sunday we were able to announce our first back-to-back bowl invitations as a Division I program, Wednesday the BIG EAST invitation to join in football, and today announcing to accept the invitation into the Big West. The Big West is a great fit for us geographically, academically and athletically. Most of our teams and sports already compete against Big West teams in non-conference schedules. There are natural rivalries that will only get more intense as we join the league. The Big West footprint is exactly where the majority of our student-athletes come from and where the majority of our alumni reside outside of San Diego. Our largest concentration of alumni is focused in San Diego, but also in Orange Country, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Parents and recruits live in those areas as well, so they'll be able to attend games and watch the Aztecs a lot more easily. Besides the benefits that President Hirshman mentioned, the Big West also offers opportunities for our sports to compete for conference championships. The Big West has a great history of national success - they've won 17 national titles. We're just extremely excited about this move and ready to move in 2013 for a number of reasons and we look forward to moving ahead."
On why going with the Big West over other conferences:
"There were different options out there, but as the President and I talked about it, this was the best fit. It fit our sports programs, our makeup, geographically where we are recruiting, where our alumni are based and the competitive levels in each of the sports that the Big West has. This was a great fit for us."
On not building up the Mountain West:
"One, you have to have all of your sport programs in the Mountain West. As you all now, the Mountain West isn't the same conference it was even last year. There are some big changes there. We need to look at what was best for our institution moving forward."
Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell
"I would like to speak on two levels today. One, this is a historic day for the Big West Conference. This is a day where our vision that we've had to elevate our conference's image as a national profile conference really has taken a major step forward. We took an initial step a year ago when we brought the University of Hawai'i into the conference, effective July of 2012, but today is a game-changer for the Big West Conference with San Diego State joining us. Not only because of its rich athletic tradition, but also its strong athletic reputation. Historically for the Big West Conference this is a momentous day. From a personal standpoint, it was about 38 years ago almost to the day that I completed my last undergraduate class at San Diego State here at Montezuma Mesa. For me to be standing here today welcoming San Diego State into the Big West fold is certainly a very proud moment for me. I know that this is a key component in our strategic vision as a conference. This is truly going to elevate the Big West Conference into the stratosphere from a public standpoint nationally. It's with great, great honor and pride that, President Hirshman, I invite the university into the Big West Conference."
On how SDSU will help elevate the Big West Conference:
"The focus sport for the conference right now is the sport of men's basketball, obviously. With Steve Fisher's program, that's a game changer for us. I believe that San Diego State's program will bring the type of leadership in that sport that raises the level of competition and the water level for all the other programs in our conference. With media negotiations coming up in the next 18 months with both our primary media partner as well as our secondary media partner, that will greatly enhance our position from a negotiating standpoint."
On if San Diego State men's basketball can maintain its position as a national power in the Big West Conference:
"(There's) no question. As you look at the facility that San Diego State has, the marketplace that San Diego State has, the coaching that it has, I believe that's its television exposure will actually increase. I can speak as an alum of this university that lives in Orange County that the exposure in the Los Angeles/Orange County marketplace I have to believe will increase dramatically from what San Diego State has currently in the Mountain West Conference."