Time for New Big East to pick a leader

Now that Louisville has won the last battle of the Old Big East, the new Big East needs to get up to speed fairly quickly in putting together its infrastructure.

And that battle is far from over, as the Catholic 7 group of schools and their new playmates–Xavier, Creighton and Butler–attempt to forge a new legacy for the conference.

The old Big East did pretty well this winter, winning both the men’s and women’s national championships and placing three of the 4 Final 4 teams in the championship games.

As has been the case for the past several months, the new Big East is involved in a power struggle between Georgetown and the rest of the league, with Marquette being the leader of the  opposition, which may be too strong a word since there is a consensus about the need to move forward. The debate is on how to go about doing that.

The stakes are big time since the league–Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence, DePaul, St. John’s, Marquette and the three newcomers–needs to be operational sooner, rather than later.

With the NCAA tournament now over, the focus should be to entice NCAA Vice President of Men’s basketball championships Dan  Gavitt into moving back to the new Big East as its first commissioner,

Hiring Gavitt should be a slam dunk move since he is the most qualified candidate available and would provide a link to the heritage of the Big East past–his father Dave founded the conference in 1979–as well as linkage to the NCAA.

There are some elements among the Catholic 7 group which wants to make a complete break from the Big East tradition of the past, which is beyond stupid.

Getting the Presidents to make a decision in a timely (next few weeks, instead of the next few months) will be the key issue. Schedules need to be made for fall and winter sports. Since many of the facilities used by teams in the new Big East are public arenas, they need to be booked well in advance.

But before that can happen, someone needs to be hired to do the booking. Hiring a new commissioner needs to be made a high, time-sensitive priority.


Rutgers officials are making the right move by using Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany as a sounding board in their search for a new Director of Athletics. Delany knows his conference and he knows people, which is a good foundation to start a search for new DOA for Rutgers which is moving to the Big 12 in 2014. Wisconsin associate athletic director  Sean T. Frazier remains a viable candidate.. Don’t be surprised if former Rutgers DOA Tim Pernetti, who resigned under pressure last week and received a buyout package in excess of $14 million returns to his roots and returns to working in the television industry at CBS Sports Network.

Once a DOA is selected, Rutgers must hire a basketball coach to replace Mike  Rice. The leading candidates appear to be former UCLA coach Ben Howland and University of Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley. Howland can wait for the call, but Hurley has a lucrative contract extension offer from URI and may not be available


With the college basketball season just about in the record books, football will again jump into the headlines. The newly created 4 team college football playoff which will begin following the 2014 season, will get a home and a name in the next few weeks.

BCS officials will meet in Pasadena in two weeks, which will begin the next phase of the process. The first championship game site will be announced (Arlington, Tx). The name for the playoffs will also be announced. Expect it to be simple and direct. Something like The College Football Championship Series sponsored by Brand X seems the most likely choice.  A selection committee could be chosen, but that is more likely to come some time in the summer…The American Conference is working on a deal with Pinstripe Bowl in New York  City to play against a Big Ten team each season…Big East commissioner Mike Aresco, after watching Louisville beat Michigan on Monday in the men’s championship game in Atlanta, hopped onto a plane on  Tuesday to fly to New Orelans to see UConn vs. Notre Dame in the women’s title  game. “This time we’re guaranteed a national champion,” said Aresco with a laugh.

© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.