Anyone that has met Marinatto or worked with him will tell you he is a man of high character with his heart in the right place. But that did not make him the right man for the job and a change of pace in the ever-changing realm of conference realignment is a beneficial step for the Big East to re-assert itself as a power conference.
"Our recent expansion efforts have stabilized the conference for the long term, and we are likewise well-positioned for our very important upcoming television negotiations," Marinatto said this morning in his resignation statement. "As a result, I felt this was the right time to step aside and to let someone else lead us through the next chapter of our evolution. ... I am extremely confident about the future of this league that I love very much."
The Big East made its first smart move this morning in retaining the Boston Consulting Group to review its organizational design and structure. The BCG provides the conference with a big — albeit expensive — boost while trying to improve media and branding rights.
Gregory Williams, President of Cincinnati, is the chair person for Marinatto's replacement. Here are three things Williams needs to look for in replacing Marinatto.
1.) Forward Thinking — Foresight was not a strength of Marinatto. In the ever-changing landscape of conference expansion, the Big East needs a forward thinker to start making proactive expansionary moves with the television deal still unsettled. Marinatto frequently came off as reactive, and even baffled at times like the departure of TCU. The new commissioner has to be proactive in every way.
2.) Football Focus — Olympic sports are a crucial part of every university and Big East basketball remains a powerhouse. But neither generates revenue or dictates changes like football and that is something with which Marinatto struggled. The new commissioner has to worry about football first, and placating basketball concerns second. It may sound harsh, but when in doubt, follow the money.
3.) Charisma — Marinatto rarely came off as confident in the media spotlight and struggled to sell his beliefs to others. The Big East, and Rutgers, need a leader that others want to rally behind. The Big East needs a leader that commands respect and can hold the attention of a room. Open mindedness is a plus.
In the meantime, it is up to Joseph Bailey III to hold down the fort. Named interim commissioner today, Bailey is the former CEO of the Miami Dolphins, COO of the NFL and vice president of administrations with the Dallas Cowboys.
"The Big East has a terrific future," Bailey said in a statement. "I'm excited to participate in shaping a new structure and strategic plans for the Conference, and I look forward to engaging on these matters with the leadership of all of the Conference's members, old and new alike."