Blog Entry

Big East leadership questioned by coaches

Posted on: September 23, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 2:31 pm
By Jeff Goodman

Some guys just aren't cut out to be head coaches. They make better assistants.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto may be one of those guys.

"I firmly believe we would manage this a lot better with a different leader," said one Big East head coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He's a good man, a good right-hand man. But I think he's in over his head."

To be fair, Marinatto was thrust into an unenviable situation, following the late Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese as the leaders of the Big East.

Marinatto's resume reads as follows: A Providence kid who graduated from Providence College in 1979, then later went onto become the athletic director at the school for 14 years. He was the associate commissioner of the Big East from 2002-2009, when he took over for Tranghese.

"There's just no way it would have gotten to this point if Dave or Mike were still in charge," another Big East head man said.

One thing is for certain: Gavitt and/or Tranghese wouldn't have had the news of Syracuse and Pittsburgh's departure delivered to him in a football press box on Saturday - as has been reported to be the case with Marinatto.

"I'm not sure how it would have worked out, but it would have," a coach in the league said about the overall situation the league now finds itself.

``I doubt it," answered yet another when posed the question whether this would have occurred under previous leadership.

However, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh departing for the ACC at some point (likely prior to 2014) and UConn begging and pleading to join the exodus, Marinatto has come under fire.

While there are certainly those who are skeptical, Marinatto does still have his share of support.

"I think eventually this would have happened anyway," one coach said. "Everyone wants to put it on Marinatto, but this is a league that's been built on instability."

Now the future of the Big East - and the way it'll be comprised - is in jeopardy. Will it add a couple members to replace what is has lost - and may lose - and move forward? Or will it re-shape itself for improved long-term stability and go the route of the "basketball-only" schools, thus going hard after Xavier and Butler?

We'll see what Marinatto does - and whether his fate mirrors that of outgoing Big 12 commish Dan Beebe, who's at left of Marinatto in the photo above.

Photo: AP

Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: September 27, 2011 7:01 pm

Big East leadership questioned by coaches

Wouldn't it just be GREAT if instead of saying (ONE AGAIN) "we are going to take our time and get this right" that the commissioner would have said "having studied this since 2003 - we are prepared to move forward NOW and x, y, z schools have accepted invitations to join by the year 20xx".

Gee, an official actually being able to accomplish something meaningful.

Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: September 27, 2011 6:53 pm

Big East leadership questioned by coaches

The BE is in gridlock.  Nothing of any value can be accomplished.

The objective in 1979 was to have a basketball conference composed of private Catholic schools.  Other schools were let in if they were located where there was a large Catholic population.

How they started down the path of allowing football playing schools in - just doesn't make any sense.

2 years before Miami left in 2003, they submitted a written complaint to the commissioner.  And nothing was done.  So Miami left & took VaTech & BC.

At that time the Big E told the remaining football playing schools they should leave and form another conference.

The recent comments about adding Navy and Air Force as football only schools appears to be a way to make the football schools happy without upsetting the existing members that are basketball only.

This is the same seesaw battle that went on in the Big 12 over Texas and their LHN.

After a while, even the most loyal Big East fan can become disgusted and just want to walk away.  I can understand Pitt and Syracuse just getting tired of this BS and wanting to leave.  And UConn and Rugters wanting to leave also - just as soon as they can.

Last year when the Big 1G was talking about adding teams from the Big East, several BE coaches spoke out against the move.  Such as Pitt's Dixon saying "Why would anyone want to leave the best basketball conference for the Big 1G?"  With these public comments the schools didn't have all their staff signing from the same sheet of music.

This year, they do. 

Did anyone notice how quickly Pitt & Syracuse submitted their paperwork to the ACC when people were focused on Texas A&M?  And how quickly the ACC accepted their application? 

Didn't it seem like they had been working on this for some time?  And then the basketball coaches at UNC and Duke came out in support of this move.  And the Pitt and Syrcause coaches came out with quotes to support the move to the "ACC, the best basketball conference".  Hmm, what has happened to make the BE no longer "the best"?

The Big East commissioner is standing still - which only makes him an easy target.  Saying things like "we will add teams" but "we are in no hurry".  Right, and when you are on a shinking ship, there is no need to jump into the water before your feet get wet.

Adding more Conference-USA teams only makes the Big East nothing more than....Conference-USA. 

If the Big East waits long enough before doing something meaningful and effective, they will not have to do anything but submit the paperwork to abolish the conference.

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: September 26, 2011 6:35 am

Big East leadership questioned by coaches

If you know your Big East history then you know that Syracuse with Athletic Director Jake Crouthamel wanted Penn State to join the Big East in 1981. The basketball only schools voted against Penn State to then only a year later add Pitt to the league. In fact it was 5 to 3 in favor of Penn State joining the big east but three basketball schools voted against Penn State which kept them out of the league.  If Penn State is in the Big East from 1981 then its possible that in lieu of joining the Big Ten, Penn State is the anchor school for football when the Big East football conference was started with the addition of Miami.

One would think Penn State and Miami as the top two football schools in the Big East in the early 90's changes to a degree how the conference realignment has happened over the last two decades.

Since: Sep 18, 2011
Posted on: September 25, 2011 10:32 am

How Providence College Killed Eastern Football

Marinatto is part of the "Providence College Syndrome" that has always inflicted the Big East.  For Eastern football, it's a terminal disease.

The BE was established as a basketball conference - a brilliant plan to unit strong Catholic colleges into a unified television contract.  For this, Dave Gavitt, of Providence College, deserves much credit.  (His successors as BE Commissioner, Tranghese and Marinatto are also both of Providence College.)

The Big East (Providence College) and Syracuse then basically conspired to screw Syracuse's then-rival for Eastern football supremacy, Penn State, by adding football and excluding Penn State.  Penn State, as we know, went on to a dominant position in Eastern football regardless and found refuge in the far-superior Big Ten.  Since Penn State was the, pardon the pun, "keystone" of Eastern football, this was the beginning of the end.

At this time, basketball still produced TV money that rivaled that of football, so the football schools all rushed into the Big East.  Over the years, football money began to outpace basketball money, but the Big East (Providence College, Seton Hall, Villanova, St. John's, et. al.) remained focused on basketball.  Any time a football school was added, Providence College made sure that one or more basketball schools (like Marquette) were added as well - thus keeping the balance of power with the small Catholic basketball schools.

With the creation of the BCS and the addition of the BE as an AQ conference, the stranglehold of Providence College, et. al., over the football schools increased dramatically. &
nbsp;If the football schools broke away, they would lose control of the BE brand name and, more importantly, the AQ status for at least a while.  This gave Providence College, et. al., a chokehold over the football schools.  Smart institutions (BC, Miami, VaTech) started fleeing.  Even Syracuse wanted to flee the monster that it very much helped create.

A gutsy move would have been to create a new Eastern football conference at the time the BCS was being created.  But it didn't happen and the fate of BE football was sealed.  Providence College killed Eastern football - a feat to which I'm sure they are indifferent.  No hobbling together of WVA, Rutgers and UConn (assuming the ACC delays in poaching the latter two) with Navy, Temple and/or Army will come close to recreating it. 

And Villanova to 1A football?  Don't make me laugh!


Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: September 25, 2011 10:04 am

Big East leadership questioned by coaches

Being a CARDS FAN I hope we keep everything open. I want to do away with the basketball only schools myself. Get Memphis,ECU,CFU and Houston asap or join the BIG 12.

Air Force is to far away and Army seems to be a better fit if the BIG EAST goes that route and kick UCONN and Rutgers out and look at Temple as well. Look what they did to Maryland yesterday and the ACC as a whole with UC abusing NCST. That leads me to this.

The Big East should go after BC and Maryland. Call the presidents of UCONN and Rutgers to the carpet and force them to comit. That adds 9 teams. Pick 4 more teams out of this litter. AIR FORCE,Army,ECU,Houston,Temple,Navy,Temple,CFU and Memphis. Or raid the BIG 12 and go after Kansas and Kansas ST.

I would to see us have KSU,Kansas,BC and Maryland. The Big East has to be bold and go after those 4 schools 1st and put UCONN and Rutgers on hold and pick from the litter box of schools i listed. Those 4 teams make the BIG EAST more solid than ever. You got to be bold and make the league a 14 team league asap.     

Since: Nov 19, 2007
Posted on: September 24, 2011 5:09 pm

Big East leadership questioned by coaches

I agree with whatever coach said the conference was built on instability. It's not really Marinatto's fault, and hopefully he can do a fine job with adding schools. The Big 12 commissioner on the other hand? He let it happen twice, and that's a different story. What should the Big East do now? There are two scenarios, if UConn stays. 1) Add Air Force, Navy, and Army as football only schools, then add Xavier in basketball. This makes 10 football and 16 basketball. 2) You add UCF, Houston, and ECU for both sports along with Navy and Air Force to make 12 football and 18 basketball. Either works fine, but I choose option #1

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