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Marinatto resigns as Big East commissioner

Surprising news out of Providence this morning, as John Marinatto has resigned from his post as Big East commissioner, stepping down after a short tenure running the league in the midst of massive conference upheaval and realignment.

"After a great deal of thought and prayer, I have decided to step down as commissioner of the Big East conference," Marinatto said in a statement released by the league. "I have been associated with this league for my entire adult life and have had the tremendous honor of serving as its commissioner since 2009."

The Big East announced that Joseph Bailey III, a former CEO of the Miami Dolphins and executive with the NFL, has been named as interim commissioner as the conference begins the process of selecting a successor.

CBSsports.com's Brett McMurphy first reported the news, adding that the league's presidents asked Marinatto to step down. The league's annual meetings are later this month in Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville.

"I know I speak for the entire conference when I was express my sincere gratitude to John for his leadership and dedicated years of service," USF President Judy Genshaft said in the Big East's statement. "John helped build the Big East into what it is today and played a critical role in our successful expansion efforts, and for all of that we thank him."

Marinatto's time as commissioner was marked by the uncertainty and chaos of conference realignment, with West Virginia and TCU leaving for the Big 12 and Pittsburgh and Syracuse announcing they are leaving for the ACC, perhaps as early as next summer. The Big East has countered with its own wave of expansion, with Temple joining in football this fall, then a larger group in 2013: Houston, SMU, Memphis and Central Florida in all sports and Boise State and an Diego State in football only. Navy will join the league in 2015.

The Big East will have to move quickly to find a successor to Marinatto, as the league's window to negotiate a new TV contract -- potentially more than $100 million per year -- starts this fall.

Marinatto is just the third commissioner in the conference's 33-year history, having led the conference since 2009 after working seven years as an associate commissioner. He spent 14 years as athletic director at Providence before moving to the league office.

[Last modified: Monday, May 7, 2012 11:41am]

    

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