Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said that the conference “wants to add a 14th member for football, and is planning to have a championship game after next season,” according to Paul Doyle of the HARTFORD COURANT. While UConn, Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati “have been rumored to be looking elsewhere, Aresco doesn't expect more defections.” He said, “I think they'll want to stay because we'll work hard to keep them here, we'll work hard to show them that this conference is a great conference, we'll work hard to get the kind of TV deal that provides the financial stability as well as the exposure.” Aresco added that the conference “will talk to ESPN about extending their relationship, but there are other suitors.” He said that he believes the Big East “deserves a place among college athletics 'Big Five' conferences." Aresco: “We think we deserve access on the larger bowl picture. … It's a stronger football conference than we've been given credit for” (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/31). Aresco, regarding which schools could be added, said, “I'm not talking about which ones. There are some obvious candidates, but we're not talking about raiding anyone and there are some independents that might potentially want to be a member" (AP, 8/30). In Connecticut, Kevin Duffy notes Aresco “sees St. John's and DePaul, two floundering big market teams, as keys to a league that will have a new identity within a few years.” Aresco also “did not elaborate on minutiae of a future TV contract, nor did he provide a timetable for the deal.” But he did “state his interest in platforms outside of television.” Aresco: "There's an awful lot of ways you can watch sports now” (Danbury NEWS-TIMES, 8/31).
BIG EAST'S BIGGEST FAN: In Connecticut, Jim Fuller noted in the short time Aresco has been in the position, “the longtime television executive’s bulldog demeanor and utter belief in the vitality of the conference has not wavered.” Aresco on Thursday "was at Rentschler Field" for UConn's season-opening game against UMass. He was “quick to praise the quality of the Big East as a basketball powerhouse.” Aresco said, “We still have from top to bottom the best basketball conference” (New Haven REGISTER CITIZEN, 8/31).