Big East Down To Five Candidates In Commish Search, Will Make Pick This Month
Interim Big East Commissioner Joe Bailey yesterday said that the conference "will have a new commissioner in place by the end of August," according to Lenn Robbins of the N.Y. POST. Bailey added that the league’s search firm, Russell Reynolds Associates, "has trimmed a list of 200 national candidates to five." Sources said that the new commissioner "could be a university president or a marketing guru or a sports executive outside of football." One thing "seems likely -- the league is inclined to go outside to find its savior." Big East Senior Associate Commissioner for Football & Marketing Nick Carparelli Jr. is "one strong candidate," but no one "would confirm if Carparelli is one of the five men left standing." Meanwhile, the Big East on Sept. 1 begins negotiations with ESPN on a new TV deal. If the two sides "can’t reach an agreement after 60 days -- and they probably won’t -- then the league goes to free agency." Sources said that Comcast/NBC "is very interested, Fox is interested." CBS might be "interested in a piece of the package," while ESPN is "interested in all things college" (N.Y. POST, 8/1).
CHALLENGES AHEAD: In Newark, Tom Luicci noted the divisional alignments for the Big East's 12-football team conference in '13 are a problem "left unresolved" after the league broke from its annual summer football meetings yesterday. All that has "been settled so far is that the 2013 league championship game will be played at the campus of the highest-ranked divisional winner" (NJ.com, 7/31). In Cincinnati, Bill Koch noted league officials yesterday "found themselves playing defense as they confronted the national perception that the Big East is no longer a major player on the national stage when it comes to football." Carparelli "tackled the issue head-on early in the proceedings." He said, “The Big East will continue to be one of the most competitive conferences in the country." He later "talked about the difficulty of convincing the rest of the country that a league in transition is not necessarily a league in decline." Carparelli: "Part of our challenge moving forward is to get the accurate information out there and to get who we are to the public. Clearly we’ve become a national conference. ... That’s one of the main reasons we’re very attractive to television. We can have a Big East football game on any time of day." The Big East also must "find a new bowl partner for its conference champion when the current BCS system dissolves" after the '13 season. Carparelli said, "We’re looking at a lot of options in terms of talking to existing bowl games as well as creating some new opportunities for ourselves" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 8/1). In Boston, Mark Blaudschun writes the Big East "seems somewhat rudderless." Critics are "correct when they say that the conference remains at the bottom of the automatic bid pecking order for the BCS" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/1).