Commentary: Aresco a Strong Choice

The Big East search for a commissioner is over with CBS Sports vice president Mike Aresco emerging as the replacement for John Marinatto. ScarletReport.com is here to break down the move and how it affects Rutgers and the rest of the conference from a football standpoint.

The immediate reaction to the Big East's decision to hire Mike Aresco as its commissioner is a positive one. Aresco, CBS Sports vice president, shows signs that the Big East is moving in the right direction for multiple reasons.

Facing uncertainty with regards to its television deal and standing within the new BCS system, Aresco and his staff will be the harbingers in shaping the future of the conference. With Aresco at the forefront, ScarletReport.com looks at some of the reasons why the Big East is in better shape with Aresco as its leader.

Television Deal — Let's start with the most obvious boost. As the former vice president of CBS Sports, Aresco is by far the best option of anyone in consideration when it comes to negotiations for the new television deal. A deal that will make or break the Big East as an elite football conference, Aresco is the right choice.

Not only does he have television experience, but he has experience negotiating big-time television deals as one of the leaders of the SEC 15-year deal with CBS for football and basketball.

Aresco will team with recently retained consultant Chris Bevilacqua for the upcoming negotiations for a television deal. Negotiations begin Sept. 1 and remain exclusive to ESPN for 60 days, after which other networks — like Aresco's former home at CBS and the growing NBC Sports — can get involved.

Ties to ESPN Love it or hate it, ESPN controls many facets of the college football market and reaches a wide audience with its coverage of conference realignment and college football. Aresco spend 12 years with ESPN from 1984-96 and was one of many to build the brand to what it is today. The past relationship with ESPN is crucial both in the network's coverage of the conference and in the upcoming negotiations.

ESPN is not always on the best of terms with former employees, but regardless of how the company feels about him, Aresco has relationships and an insider's knowledge of how things get done.

Outside Perspective — Aresco brings a hugely different point of view to the Big East and that change is desperately needed within a conference that continues to appear reactive instead of proactive.

Aresco does not have ties to the Big East and, therefore, is a tremendous change in a positive direction from the Marinatto days.

CBS Sports Connections — This one is directly related to Rutgers in that athletic director Tim Pernetti and Aresco have a past working relationship, which helps one of the longest standing Big East programs moving forward.

Timing — The Big East set a time-table for a new commissioner and finished its search ahead of schedule. After some blunders in recent years, this is an impressive feat. Aresco begins work in September and has three weeks to get comfortable and informed before the beginning of television negotiations and 2012 Big East football.



Like any hire, there are questions surrounding Aresco.

What does Aresco bring beyond his television experience? There is a lot more to being the commissioner of an athletic conference than television negotiations. Aresco will have to prove that he is not a one-trick pony when it comes to the other administrative duties of the office ranging from expansion, to the development of the Big East championship game to keeping the presidents and athletic directors of the conference happy.

Is he a good speaker? — Marinatto did not often inspire confidence in his public remarks and did not have an overly persuasive personality. Aresco will be immediately under a microscope as the new head of a conference looking to improve his brand. Aresco must be persuasive behind closed doors and confident and convincing when speaking to the press.


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