SBD/October 9, 2012/Colleges

Big East Commissioner Aresco Says Renewal Talks With ESPN "Not Anywhere Near Done"

Aresco would not rule out creating a Big East TV network
Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said a deal between the conference and ESPN during the two sides' exclusive negotiating window that runs through October is “not anywhere near done," according to Brian Hamilton of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Aresco said there has been "a lot of interest expressed to us by other networks.” Hamilton notes that means “things will truly ramp up as the deadline approaches.” Aresco: "We have two sports that are equally important, and they can help each other. The basketball-only schools derive great benefit from being with our football-basketball schools. The football-basketball schools benefit from the wonderful, strong heritage of the basketball schools. That, together, will mean a lot as we talk to the various networks." Meanwhile, Aresco said of the possibility of a seventh bowl game added to the top tier of the new college football postseason, "You've read about the seventh bowl that commissioners are considering that we think eventually will happen. That'll give the Big East needed access to the highest level of the new system. ... It would be a contract bowl where you'd have to put the bowl together but would have obviously semifinal games. I really can't talk about it any more than that. Nothing finalized yet. But we're reasonably sure it will afford the Big East a path to the postseason system, which is so important for your champion." Aresco said of the possibility of a Big East TV network, “We’ll also be very creative. We’re not ruling anything out at this point” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/6).

CHANGE ISN'T EASY: Georgetown Univ. men’s basketball coach John Thompson III said the Big East has gone from “unquestionably the best basketball conference in the country to now we’re just arguably the best basketball conference in the county.” But in DC, Liz Clarke notes Thompson “insists reports of the Big East’s demise are grossly exaggerated.” Thompson said, “Intercollegiate athletics is going through an evolution. We’re in the midst of it. It’s not close to being over.” Thompson added, "We have lost what have been traditionally key members. But the Big East still has New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas and Houston. We’re going through change. We’re going to look different tomorrow than we did yesterday. But there’s no need to cry for us” (WASHINGTON POST, 10/5).
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