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Villanova tells Big East ‘No Thanks’

October 16, 1997

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) _ Villanova has declined an invitation to join the Big East conference for football, a move which would have required the school to upgrade its Division I-AA program to Division I-A.

The school had until Jan. 1 to accept the invitation, and then would have had until 2002 to meet I-A requirements.

``I realize some people won’t agree with the decision, or understand all of the reasons behind it,″ athletic director Tim Hofferth said after the Villanova Board of Trustees made their decision Wednesday. ``But the people on the committee obviously felt this is what’s best for Villanova right now.″

Villanova belongs to the Big East for all sports but football.

The Wildcats are unbeaten in five games this season and ranked No. 3 in I-AA.

To move up to I-A, Villanova would need to build a 30,000-seat stadium, which school officials estimated would have cost $37 million. The school would also have been required to add 22 men’s and 22 women’s athletic scholarships.

The University of Connecticut is still considering the Big East’s 1994 invitation to its six members that do not play I-A football.

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