Spring Meetings: Aresco Talks AAC Marketing; Big East Commissioner Update
The "clear message" at next week's American Athletic Conference spring meetings will be that it is "time to move forward,” according to Desmond Conner of the HARTFORD COURANT. AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said the meetings, beginning Monday in Ponte Vedra, Fla., “We're a new conference, we want to be judged now on what we do going forward.” He added, "You have to have performance. We want to start getting the word out who is in our conference, why it's strong in basketball, why it's going to be very strong in football, but in the end you have to perform and I think our schools will." Conner notes the conference's logo “has been seen by member schools,” and the AAC is “expected to make it public in about three weeks.” Red and blue will be “well-represented.” The league financially “will be OK,” as it will have “a ton more money than the Mid-American or Conference USA, which the American gets grouped with.” Aresco said, "If we win, and I believe we will, we'll be fine" (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/16). Aresco: “We’re going to market heavily. We’re going to build this brand. We’ve got not only good (men’s) basketball and football, we’ve got some of the best women’s basketball. ... There’s a lot of pieces in place. What we’re asking is give us a chance and we’ll show what this conference is” (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/16).
WHO'S THE BOSS? ESPN.com’s Andy Katz noted Big East ADs and coaches will meet next week in Palm Beach, Fla., but they “still don't have a commissioner, let alone an office, a schedule and compliance bylaws and staff.” ADs are “getting anxious that a commissioner hasn't been named yet.” Presidents are “running the show and keeping the ADs in the dark.” The ADs wanted a commissioner “yesterday, or at the very least in time for next week's meeting.” But that “may not be possible.” If not, former Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe "will run the meeting” (ESPN.com, 5/14).
THE NEW GUY: In Orlando, Coley Harvey writes if Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick's “initial impression this week" at the ACC spring meetings is "any indication, the relationship between his school and the ACC will be firm.” Swarbrick said, "I certainly don't have a historical frame of reference, but the energy and excitement is really palpable. Focusing on basketball, no one's ever assembled a group of teams like this before. And the opportunity to play with that, if you will, and to take that out for a test drive and to figure out how to maximize it, it's hard not to be excited about it.” Harvey writes the ACC, with the additions of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville, will “strengthens its combination of athletics and academics.” Swarbrick: "It's the highest academic performing athletic conference in the country in terms of the FBS conferences. All of that is evident in the things they discuss and how they discuss it" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/16).