Marinatto Out as Big East Commissioner

Ok, so I know that I said we weren’t going to have any posts until after finals were over. Well, when there’s news as big as this, I’m going to be honest: it’s hard for us to keep ourselves away. Here’s Senior Sports Editor Evan Hollander with the scoop:

Big East realignment claimed its first casualty in the league office Monday as Commissioner John Marinatto resigned, apparently under pressure from the league’s member schools.

“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 a statement released by the league. “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.”

But CBSSports.com reported that the league’s presidents had asked for Marinatto’s resignation Sunday night. ESPN reported that the basketball members of the league — a group that might include Georgetown — were unhappy with the way the commissioner treated them in the realignment process.

Marinatto, who took the helm in 2009, was dogged by realignment for much of the last two years. West Virginia will start play in the Big 12 this fall and Syracuse and Pittsburgh will depart the conference in a year’s time.

With the Mountaineers headed for the exits, Marinatto was forced to add Temple in order to keep eight football schools in the league for the upcoming season. To add to the conference’s long-term appeal, Southern Methodist, Central Florida, Houston and Memphis will become full members in 2013, while Boise State and San Diego State will become football-only members that same year.

The task of steering that new grouping through what may prove to be fractious television and Bowl Championship Series negotiations will fall to veteran sports executive Joseph A. Bailey III, at least on an interim basis.

Bailey, who has previously served as CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Deputy Commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, was most recently head of the sports practice at RSR Partners, an executive recruiting firm.

“The Big East has a terrific future,” Bailey said in the conference’s statement. “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.”