While the majority of the world of college basketball deals with the NCAA tournament and other post season activities, the inner workings of the soon to be announced new 10 team Big East conference are also working hard to prepare for NEXT season.
The obvious moves have been handled. The name, the core group of the Catholic 7 Big East schools, plus expected invitations to Butler and Xavier of the Atlantic 10 and Creighton of the Missouri Valley Conference have been the primary headline makers.
What is not as visible is the process of building a conference structure, staffing, hiring officials for games next season, setting up scheduling and hiring a commissioner to lead the way for an organization that will be up and running as the Big East on July 1.
According to sources familiar with the process, the Catholic 7 group has made the first move in that direction by hiring former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe to help facilitate that process. Although Beebe, who now runs a crisis management/consulting firm based in Dallas, is not regarded as a candidate for a permanent position as a commissioner, he is expected to set up the frame work for the new Big East when it does open its doors for business, most likely in New York City.
Both the new Big East and the old Big East will be looking to firm up sites for their post season tournaments next year. The New Big East is expected to stay at Madison Square Garden. The old Big East is looking at several options, with a rotation of cities almost guaranteed. Memphis, Philadelphia (The Palestra?) Hartford, New Orleans and Cincinnati all could be in the mix, with New York/NJ also a possibility. It might even be open to cities bidding for the rights.
The NCAA games being held in Salt Lake City could be a job fair for USC athletic director Pat Haden with Pittsburgh (Jamie Dixon) New Mexico (Steve Alford) and Harvard (Tommy Amaker) all potential candidates…Dixon is the favorite .The new power broker in college basketball? Try Dan Parker, the search firm wizard from Atlanta, who has provided the NCAA with key staff people, including NCAA President Mark Emmert, and Notre Dame with AD Jack Swarbrick as well as numerous other college hoop coaches. Northwestern has just hired Parker to find a replacement for Bill Carmody, who was fired last week…Strangest match-ups of week. Louisville and former Wildcat coach Rick Pitino playing a first roud game in Rupp Arena in Lexington, while Kentucky and Coach John Calipari are playing a first round NIT game AT Robert Morris, which is very near Calipari’s home town of Moon Township in Western Pennsylvania.
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