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Val Ackerman named commissioner of revamped Big East

Val Ackerman was once given the keys to launch and operate a newly formed league. She'll get a similar opportunity once again.

The former and first-ever president of the WNBA, Ackerman was announced as the Big East Conference commissioner Wednesday.

"Val has achieved great success within every element of the sports business industry,'' Georgetown president John DeGioia said during a conference call. "With the psyche of a former Division I athlete, she has marshaled operations that directly resulted in elite levels of play, lucrative sponsorship deals, and lasting partnerships. We are thrilled to welcome her to the Big East."

The Big East, which hasn't found a location yet for its offices, plans to be headquartered in New York City.

Ackerman spoke about where the new Big East's priorities lie and the path it has taken in forming a new conference devoid of any major football programs.

"I think the decision by the schools, which broke away from the old Big East -- now the American Athletic Conference -- was a statement that this is, as sports go, going to be about being a superior basketball organization," Ackerman said. "This is going to be a basketball-centric organization."

Ackerman said that the conference, which includes 10 teams -- Seton Hall, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John's, Providence, DePaul, Villanova, Xavier, Creighton and Butler -- has no immediate desire to lure other schools to join the Big East. Ackerman also said that the conference plans to continue to hold its postseason tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Ackerman served as president of the WNBA from 1996-2004 and president of USA Basketball from 2005-2008.

Though Ackerman said it's not high on her priority list, she understands the global aspect of the game and is aware of the opportunities it could present for growing the conference's brand.

"There could be some international elements to our basketball programs, as well," Ackerman said. "It's a global sport and there could be some opportunities for games or for other events where we could take the Big East brand global."


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