May 7, 2012

After several weeks of rumor Big East Commissioner John Marinatto has resigned.  The Big East conference announced his resignation early Monday morning.  Marinatto made a large push before he resigned to expand the conference and stabilize it for the long haul.

“Our recent expansion efforts have stabilized the conference for the long term, and we are likewise well positioned for our very important upcoming television negotiations,” Marinatto said in the news release. “As a result, I felt this was the right time to step aside and to let someone else lead us through the next chapter of our evolution.”

Later the TV deal Marinatto was hoping to capture was voted down 12-4.

Marinatto had been commissioner since July 2009 taking over for Mike Tranghese. Since Marinatto took over, the conference has lost Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia; an unacceptable loss by the Conference standards.  Cbssports.com reported that Marinatto was asked to resign Sunday night.

“You’re never surprised in our business about things, but I would be less than honest to say I saw this coming,” said Bill Bradshaw, Temple’s athletic director. “Yes, in our business you’re never surprised. But John’s a first-class individual, straightforward. A good man. High integrity. A nice person. Whenever someone resigns, it’s something you reflect.”

The Big East presidents have been pushing for a new leader with a different vision. Currently there is no announced permanent replacement; however Joseph Baily, a recruiting firm executive will be filling the Commissioner roll in Marinatto’s absence.

“Joe is a proven leader who will do a terrific job guiding the conference through this time of transition,” said Judy Genshaft, South Florida president and chair of the Big East, in the statement. “His experience as a manager and his knowledge of the sports industry make Joe uniquely qualified.”

The Conference has its eyes on someone who has a deep understanding of television contracts. Nick Carparelli, the Big East’s senior associate commissioner, and Tim Pernetti, Rutgers athletics director are the most notable candidates to take over the job long term.

With major changes in the BCS coming in the next season, it is uncertain whether The Big East will remain a top conference.  While they are currently in negotiations for a significant bump in television revenue, it is uncertain how large the boost will actually be with the new changes.

The Big East will begin spring meetings May 21 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. hopefully to begin the rebuilding process this conference needs to regain its stature as a top competitor in the BCS.

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