By Brian Murphy
Big East commissioner John Marinatto, who oversaw the addition of Boise State as a football-only member, resigned Monday morning.
Marinatto had a tumultuous tenure as the Big East boss. Long-time members Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia announced that they are leaving the league. To replace them, Mariantto and the conference reached across the country, tapping Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and adding Central Florida, Houston, SMU, Memphis and Temple as all-sport members. Navy's football program is slated to join in 2015.
CBS Sports.com first reported that Marinatto was being forced out as commissioner.
"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," Marinatto said in a statement released by the league. "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."
Said South Florida President Judy Genshaft: “I know I speak for the entire Conference when I express my sincere gratitude to John for his leadership and dedicated years of service. 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 has been named interim commissioner. Bailey has been the CEO of the Miami Dolphins, the COO of the World League/NFL and Vice President of Administration with the Dallas Cowboys.
“Joe is a proven leader who will do a terrific job guiding the conference through this time of transition,” Genshaft said. “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 retained The Boston Consulting Group to assist in the transition. Cincinnati President Gregory Williams will chair the search for a new conference boss.
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