Commissioner: 'The Big East will clearly stand on its merits'

By Brian Murphy

Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco has been on the job for about a month — and he's already deep in negotiations for a new television contract, fighting for access in a new postseason bowl system and dealing with the announced departure of Notre Dame.

"I knew there would be no honeymoon," Aresco told the Idaho Statesman on Thursday.

Aresco was the executive vice president for programming at CBS Sports before accepting the Big East position.

"One of my colleagues from my former life in the media said, 'It must feel like drinking from a fire hose.' It's all good. There's so many opportunities with this conference right now," Aresco said.

I will be writing about the Big East for Saturday's "Bronco Blitz" section in the Idaho Statesman. But here are some highlights from my conversation with Aresco:

• On the reported "seventh" new BCS bowl game designed to provide access to the Big East and other conferences when the playoff system begins in 2014: "I and some of the other commissioners have been pressing for more access for, in my case, the Big East. I think it's really important. I'm encouraged by the response, but nothing's set in stone yet."

• According to reports, the automatic spot in the seventh game will be available to the highest-ranked conference champion from the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference and Sun Belt. On whether lumping the Big East with the other leagues is a good move: "The Big East will clearly stand on its merits and what it does on the field. I'm very confident in what our Big East schools are going to accomplish. Access is access."

• On whether that spot will be reserved for conference champions: "We have been seeking access for conference champions. There is an important distinction to be made for conference champions."

• On divisional alignments for the 12-team Big East in 2013 and the potential 14-team Big East in 2015: "We're looking at some different models for that. We haven't decided yet. We have to get it finished in the next few months. ... I want to do it right. I want to make sure we get the right divisional alignment."

Aresco said the 2013 alignment would serve as the basis for the 2015 alignment. "If you do a divisional alignment, you don't want to radically alter it when you have new teams. We'll have a template that shows 12 and then shows what 14 might look like."

• On expansion: "We know we're going to need to visit it and we're thinking about it. We're thinking about a 14th team. ... I just don't want to get into any specific teams."

• On if adding a Western team is important: "If we did add a 14th member, logically a Western team might make sense. But I'm not mentioning teams and not isolating teams. We'll look at it and try and decide what's best for the conference. We want a quality institution."

• On negotiations with Notre Dame about an early exit: "I don't know what Notre Dame's position will be. We will engage them in talks." Aresco said there has been no negotiations at this time.

• The Big East is in the middle of a 60-day exclusive negotiating window with ESPN. It began on Sept. 1. "We're encouraged. We've had a long history with ESPN. ... We're trying to get something done. There's an awful lot of interest in the Big East from other networks and cable networks. But we're very cognizant of our relationship with ESPN. We grew up with them. They grew up with us. It's been a great relationship."

• On what he is looking for from the television deal: "I don't know what it will ultimately end up being but we're looking for financial stability for our conference and maximum exposure. ... The goal is to get the kind of TV deal that will make our members extremely comfortable and happy."

• Aresco plans to make his first visit to Boise for the Broncos game against UNLV on Oct. 20. Aresco said Boise State President Bob Kustra sent him a piece of blue turf, which he has on his desk. "I'm looking forward to seeing the blue turf in person," Aresco said. "I can't say enough about the program and what it's meant to college football. Boise is a great story."

Typo ...

Murph, third-to-last bullet point has East Esst. The copy editor in me surfaces from time to time.

thanks, nick ...

... - murph



An Improvement, How?

• According to reports, the automatic spot in the seventh game will be available to the highest-ranked conference champion from the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference and Sun Belt."

Seems like alot of traveling around to end up in the same old spot.

Read more here:


not only ending up to be a bad move for the football team, all the other sports at BSU got hosed and were forced to take a step back.


just exactly how are the other sports being hosed if they were not doing very well to begin with? The hoops program had been mediocre at best since BSU joined the WAC, so I don't see how a hoops program could be taking a step back when it had not been performing very well over the last decade.

uh huh....been sayin it for

uh huh....been sayin it for a two years now....FIRE KUSTRA!!!

And you never say why.....

Get a new take......

Fire yourself.


You fry wants with that?

To review...

The conference move has much less to do with Bowl access than TV revenue and exposure. Of which the MW has oh, so little...


So all that BSU gets for winning the Big East is a place in line with the winner of the Mountain West for a spot in the 7th best bowl game. Why did BSU go to the Big East again?

money and exposure

They went to the big East so they could get better media exposure, another 5-10 million a year, and a stronger strength of schedule then they had in the old/new Wac..(ie San Jose, Utah state, Fresno, Nevada etc) This way they wont be beat out by another program when they are undefeated like Utah did to them in 04' and 08' at least this way they control their own destiny.. Trust me, this was a good move!

Exciting times I think

But every thing else aside your right with that statement on money and exposure. But I find between all the sports we are going to be playing a different bunch of teams from around the country. Throw in few Big East teams in basketball plus really it seems since we quit playing in Big West years ago our Cal basketball recruiting has fallen off, but maybe I'm wrong on the note?
Basketball arena used to be rocking in the old days of Big West.



I think

that the Big East will get priority consideration among those other conferences for a 7th BCS game. Still, we clearly remain a red-headed, non-AQ stepchild as far as the five major power conferences are concerned. We need to get the offense fixed and keep winning, and hope that the Big East out-of-conference schedules play out in some big wins for 2013. The arrogance of the five majors can be tempered a bit if some of their teams get thumped by the Big East.


Wouldn't it be ironic if after all this running around to get Big East exposure that they end up being bumped by one of those old wac/wmc buddies (ie San Jose, Utah state, Fresno, Nevada etc)?

Strengh of schedule

Hard to believe that is what TCU and Utah always had over BSU. The new WAC isn't any stronger than the old one. Boise St. may not have much more, but it is a step up in competition, so I would find it hard to believe that BSU would get bumped by a Fresno, Wyoming, Hawaii, etc.

Don't forget...

How lousy the Mountain West has ALWAYS been to Boise State. The many years they denied entry, the worst tv contracts of any conference, the inability to keep prestige programs who bailed when they found out they would have to compete on the blue turf, passing the crazy "no blue uniforms on blue turf" rule, etc. I'm not crazy about the move, but the MWC doesn't deserve the Broncos.

110% correct

There was no way the likes of Utah and TCU would have wanted to play Boise St. every year. I always knew that a move to the MWC could never work because of the bad TV deal they provided, but the way Boise St. has been treated by the conference has just been pure ignorance. Plus, Boise gets way more money from the Big East.

If the football blogs were my wife I'd hit the bars...

because she complains about everything.


It wasn't God who made honky-tonk bloggers...