Marinatto: No plans for Big East expansion
The Big East ushered in what will be a new era for the conference with Wednesday's announcement that senior associate commissioner John Marinatto will take over for commissioner Mike Tranghese next summer. That change, however, won't change the league's stance when it comes to expanding from its current eight-team lineup for college football.
"On that specific issue, I think we've been on the same page," Marinatto said during a news conference announcing his unanimous selection. "We are open-minded ... in the event that something dramatic happens (with other leagues), but right now I don't think there are any immediate plans, any plans to expand."
The league has 16 members for basketball, eight of whom play football as Big East schools, making it the smallest of the six Bowl Championship Series conferences. Football coaches have expressed frustration in the unbalanced schedule, which has teams playing three home and four road conference games in alternating years. Tranghese has said he does not want to expand to simply resolve a scheduling issue, and that he does not want to expand beyond 16 teams in basketball.
Marinatto was asked about his feelings about Notre Dame playing football in the Big East -- the FIghting Irish play as an independent in football, with a lucrative TV contract with NBC. Marinatto said he was in the room in 1994 when Notre Dame joined the league, and since then, the school has been a tremendous partner for the league, but made it clear that it takes pride in its independence in football.
"They've never masqueraded what their intentions are in the sport of football," he said.