Introduced as temporary replacement for John Marinatto, Joe Bailey insists he's nothing more than interim Big East commissioner. (Photo courtesy of The Sporting News)
The Big East took its first step toward securing their future yesterday, naming Joe Bailey as the interim replacement to former commissioner John Marinatto, who announced his resignation Monday morning. Bailey, a former Miami Dolphins executive, met the media on a conference call yesterday, made clear that he is more of a transitional leader than one who intends to settle into his new office over time.
Before the Big East does name a permanent replacement, a move that would likely happen before the conference's football media day in August, Bailey will oversee the conference's status in the much-maligned and weakening Bowl Championship Series; not to mention the realignment situation that proved to be Marinatto's downfall after he pieced together a league with anyone who would accept an invitation, as well as the conference's upcoming broadcast rights negotiations, which Marinatto also botched during his three-year tenure.
"My understanding is that negotiations will begin in the fall," said Bailey in regard to the impending broadcast deal. "From our perspective, we'll probably have a number of interested parties because of what the Big East represents. The results will be positive."
In addition to clarifying his exact role, Bailey was also emphatic about conference officials believing in the long-term security of a league that has long been regarded as the gold standard for college basketball. "All of the schools (fifteen now that West Virginia has left for the Big 12) think in terms of being a community," said Bailey. "People are very enthusiastic about the future. The Big East is focused on making sure that the perception is not that the conference is unraveling."
Despite having already lost West Virginia and having Pittsburgh and Syracuse halfway out the door already en route to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East has brought in Temple, Memphis, Central Florida, Southern Methodist and Houston over the next two years to somewhat ease the blow. The conference also welcomes San Diego State, Boise State and Navy to its football members in a move that seemingly gives the conference a national footprint, even at the expense of prestige.
Whoever ultimately assumes the commissioner position will have to deal with the pressure and chaos created by their predecessor, especially when it comes to the divisive and Civil War-like split between basketball and football. However, the Big East's first step toward bridging the gap seems to be a positive, although cautious, one.