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Marinatto addresses issues facing Big East, NCAA



A three-hour flight home gives you lots of time to transcribe, so here are highlights from Big East commissioner John Marinatto's address at Big East media days Tuesday morning. Given a 15-minute window, Marinatto was commendably on time, speaking for 14 minutes and 55 seconds ...


On the overall success of college football:

“The Big East is stronger and has more vitality today than it’s ever had in its 32-year history. Similarly, college football is now firmly second only to the NFL in popularity in America. And the BCS, of which the Big East conference is a proud founding member, has been extremely positive for the sport, creating the most relevant regular season in all of sports.

On the league’s parity and competitive balance:

“Five of our eight Big East schools have earned at least a share of the regular-season title since 2005, and all eight of our schools have won a bowl game in the last four years.”

On last year’s disappointing showing by the league:

“Although I acknowledge the fact that we did not experience our best season on the field in 2010, all of us are confident that last year was simply an aberration. No. 1, we are second only to the SEC in regular-season nonconference game winning percentage over the past five years. Secondly, seven of our eight schools have been ranked in the top 20 of the national rankings over the last five years. Our champion has finished in the top 12 of the final BCS standings for five of the past six seasons. And finally, last year, we recorded our fifth straight season with a winning record in postseason play. We hold a 20-8 bowl record over the past five seasons.”

On the Big East’s position entering negotiation of a new TV deal next year:

“Given the ever-growing appetite for live sports, DVR-proof programming, the increased level of competition in the marketplace, the continued emergence of technology changing the way we view our products and the confidence I have in our product, I view this as a golden opportunity to secure our longterm stability and security into the next generation.”

On the Big East’s national reach:

“Last year, 68 percent of our conference football games were broadcast nationally on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. The Big East reaches more television households than any other conference in the country. Seven Big East members are located in the top 14 media markets, and 12 in the top 35, covering more than 25 percent of all U.S. households. … The addition of the defending Rose Bowl champion (TCU) will expand the largest footprint of any conference in the country to now more than 30 percent of the TV households in America and into what is the fifth-largest media market in the country.”

On potential expansion:

“We’ll continue to evaluate potential opportunities for future expansion, and similar to TCU, any new candidate for membership must also bring real value. Our process is ongoing and we continue to study all options.”

On the need to consider major changes to the rules governing the NCAA:

“All of us realize we are at a critical juncture, a point where change is not only necessary but inevitable. We understand the time has come to get serious about deregulating rules, restructuring and modernizing recruiting policies, eligibility standards and addressing student welfare issues, including the cost of attendance, multi-year scholarships and freshman eligibility.”

On why he thinks Big East coaches and staff choose to work in college athletics:

“I’d like to close by sharing two examples of why I believe we as administrators and coaches choose to be involved in college sports. In recent years as you all know our conference has seen some of the most tragic things happen to some of our best student-athletes, and at the same time, was gratified to see how being part of a team or part of a program, part of a conference family, can help overcome the most trying of circumstances. We all know the story of Connecticut’s Jasper Howard, and just last year, we were all taken aback by the play that rendered Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand paralyzed from the neck down. In both instances, we have seen overwhelming support from fellow Big East student-athletes, teams, coaches, fans and the college community at large. Support that buoyed the University of Connecticut football program to move forward and earn the school’s first-ever conference football title and BCS berth. That same support has helped Eric regain some feeling in his arms and even stand upright for the first time. It’s this type of human response to tragedy that symbolizes, at least for me, the very best of college athletics.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 11:45pm]


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