That state being of chaos.
Heck of a way to start the week:
My first thought was that Marinatto woke from his bender and realized that the Big East has added Memphis, Temple, SMU and Houston. That triggered the remorse and resignation. Nope.
It was because he was told to do so.
Marinatto, 54, has been the Big East’s commissioner since July 1, 2009, when he took over for Mike Tranghese, the league’s commissioner from 1990-2009. Dave Gavitt was the league’s inaugural commissioner from 1979-1990.
Marinatto was asked to resign by the league’s presidents Sunday, sources said.
Marinatto gets plenty of blame – much deserved — for how the conference continually failed to act. Only react, and late to events. Yet, beyond the dysfunction of competing interests of the football vs. non-football schools, the fact that the presidents took this long to finally remove Marinatto shows how much of the lateness of Big East actions comes from the schools themselves.
And as usual their timing couldn’t have been more problematic.
The timing of Marinatto’s exit comes exactly one week before the league’s spring meetings will be held in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Also, Marinatto has been representing the Big East in the BCS commissioner meetings the past four months to determine a new playoff format in 2014.
One of the uncertainties of the new playoff format is how much revenue the Big East will receive in the new plan. The Big East is an AQ conference, but in 2014 there will be no designations between AQ and non-AQ conferences so it’s unknown if the Big East will receive the same size revenue shares as the other AQ leagues (SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC).
Also in September, the league will begin negotiations with ESPN and other networks on its new media rights deal.
Basically at the league meetings they will have to agree on a strategy behind an interim conference commissioner regarding all of those issues. While still putting together a search for a new commissioner. Good luck.
Hey, the Big 12 finally hired a new Commissioner. That means Chuck Neinas is available to be interim over this mess.
Prior to Marinatto getting the job, Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti was a finalist for the Big East Commissioner job. He might very well be the interim commissioner.
I don’t think Pernetti would take the full-time job now. At least, Rutgers fans better hope not. Same with Louisville fans and their AD Tom Jurich. Both are very capable of doing the job, but both schools would be hard pressed to find a comparable replacement.
UPDATE: Here is the Big East press release.
Providence, R.I. — The BIG EAST Conference today announced the resignation of Commissioner John Marinatto.
“After a great deal of thought and prayer, I have decided to step down as Commissioner of the BIG EAST Conference and formally advised our Board of Directors,” stated Marinatto. “I have been associated with this league for my entire adult life and have had the tremendous honor of serving as its Commissioner since 2009. 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. 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. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish and would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank both our membership and my staff for their unwavering encouragement, support and loyalty — especially during this past year. I am extremely confident about the future of this league that I love very much.”
“I know I speak for the entire Conference when I express my sincere gratitude to John for his leadership and dedicated years of service,” said Dr. Judy Genshaft, President of the University of South Florida and Chair of the BIG EAST Conference. “John helped build the BIG EAST into what it is today, and played a critical role in our successful expansion efforts, and for all of that we thank him.”
Joseph A. Bailey III will today assume the position of interim Commissioner of the BIG EAST until a new Commissioner is selected. Bailey has extensive experience in the global sports industry as a leader, advisor and recruiter. He has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Dolphins, Chief Operating Officer of the World League/NFL, Vice President of Administration of the Dallas Cowboys and other senior positions. Most recently, he has served as the Managing Director of RSR Partners, a leading executive recruiting firm.
“Joe is a proven leader who will do a terrific job guiding the conference through this time of transition,” said Genshaft. “His experience as a manager and his knowledge of the sports industry make Joe uniquely qualified to serve as interim Commissioner. He will move the Conference forward with a steady-hand as we explore new opportunities.”
“The BIG EAST has a terrific future,” said Bailey. “I’m excited to participate in shaping a new structure and strategic plans for the Conference, and I look forward to engaging on these matters with the leadership of all of the Conference’s members, old and new alike.”
The Conference also announced that it has retained The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to review its organizational design and structure. As the BIG EAST transitions to a national conference, its members will take this opportunity to position the Conference to maximize its media rights, branding and other strategies.
The search for the new Commissioner of the BIG EAST will be chaired Dr. Gregory H. Williams, the President of the University of Cincinnati and a member of the BIG EAST Executive Committee.
Well, embedded in the second last paragraph is a major factor in what has been wrong with this conference.
“As the BIG EAST transitions to a national conference...”
What the hell did it think it was before this? It hasn’t been a small regional conference since its initial founding. It quickly became a major power player in college basketball. In the 90s, even after it grudgingly added football, it was a national player with that. Miami and VT helping to establish that. The conference was part of the BCS from the beginning. Even after all the upheaval of the first raid by the ACC, the Big East became a 16-team behemoth. Stretching from Florida to Wisconsin.
Yet somehow this was not a “national conference.” It somehow thought of itself as something else (the private playground for Providence?).
I don’t care if the actual intent of the wording was to suggest that membership that stretches from coast-to-coast. It was still a huge sprawling national conference, yet could see itself that way. Therein lies much of the problem. The conference leadership. The offices in Providence. They still saw it as a small family-run affair.
The question for the Big East membership. The presidents of the school. Do you really mean it. Marinatto was the symptom. They could not agree on a hire that was not part of the Big East/Providence family. This next choice has to be someone from the outside.