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Big East Commissioner Marinatto Resigns As Realignment Shakes Up Conference

Big East Commissioner Marinatto Resigns As Realignment Shakes Up Conference

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Marinatto steps down as Big East commissioner after only three years
The Big East Conference today announced the resignation of Commissioner John Marinatto, who has held the position since taking over for Mike Tranghese in '09. Former Dolphins Enterprises CEO Joe Bailey will assume the position of interim Commissioner until a permanent replacement is selected. Univ. of Cincinnati President and Big East Exec Committee member Dr. Gregory Williams will chair the search committee for a new commissioner. The Big East has retained The Boston Consulting Group to review its organizational design and structure (Big East). CBSSPORTS.com's Brett McMurphy cites sources as saying that Marinatto "was asked to resign by the league's presidents." Marinatto's exit comes "exactly two weeks before the league's spring meetings will be held in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla." He has been representing the Big East "in the BCS commissioner meetings the past four months to determine a new playoff format" in '14. The league in September "will begin negotiations with ESPN and other networks on its new media rights deal." Under Marinatto, the Big East "had been hit by several defections due to conference realignment -- TCU and West Virginia left for the Big 12 and Pittsburgh and Syracuse will leave for the ACC." However, Marinatto had brought in "eight new members ... to stablize the football side of the league" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/7). In Newark, Brendan Prunty notes during Marinatto's tenure, the Big East "went through one of its most prosperous and tumultuous three-year stretches." While enjoying the "highs of national championships in men's basketball (Connecticut in 2011) and women's basketball (UConn in 2010), in addition to record-setting teams in the NCAA Tournament on the men's side, the football side created strife amongst the league" (NJ.com, 5/7).

PERCEPTION PROBLEM: ESPN.com's Adelson & Katz write, "Without its flagship schools, the Big East has been left with a major perception problem." With the BCS "headed for major changes in the next postseason cycle, it remains unclear whether the Big East will be among the top conferences when it comes to revenue distribution from BCS money." Automatic qualifying status "is already gone, which many believe could have a major impact on the Big East." While the conference is "in line for a significant bump in TV revenue, it remains unclear just how big the boost will be with the newest additions" (ESPN.com, 5/7).

TWITTER REAX: The N.Y. Times' Pete Thamel reported on his Twitter account, "Marinatto had been in discussions with the Big East presidents for weeks about his future. This wasn't sudden." ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil wrote, "John Marinatto is a good man but he was an old-school commish in an age when commissioners need to be Fortune 500 CEOs." Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde wrote, "League has bigger problems than him, but he did not provide strong leadership in a time of crisis and transition. Big East needs more from the top." The Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein wrote, "Marinatto a terrific guy but needed more seasoning. Example: Was in awe of Jim Delany, rather than treating him as colleague/foe." CNBC's Darren Rovell wrote, "Not sure he could have done much about it, but Marinatto didn't make the moves he needed to make to protect the Big East."

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