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John Marinatto resigns as Big East Conference commissioner

The Big East, with so many new faces in its latest reincarnation, will have a new leader as well, as commissioner John Marinatto resigned Monday after less than three years of a reign marked by the chaos of conference realignment.

"All endings are sad," Marinatto told the New York Times. "But there's a beginning. I'm sure that it'll be positive in the end. I feel good about where we're leaving it after going through what we went through and proud of what we're able to accomplish in part over the last seven months."

In the past year, key league members Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced they're leaving for the ACC and West Virginia bolted for the Big 12. TCU, which was supposed to join the Big East this fall, left for the Big 12 as well.

Marinatto has added eight schools that will join the conference over the next three years, but won't be there for their arrival.

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

CBSsports.com, which broke the news, reported that league presidents asked Marinatto to step down Sunday night. Marinatto told the New York Times he had been in discussions with the presidents for a few weeks.

The league's annual meetings are this month in Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville.

"I know I speak for the entire conference when I express my sincere gratitude to John for his leadership and dedicated years of service," USF president Judy Genshaft, also the chair of the Big East, said in a statement released by the league. "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 successor will have the challenge of negotiating a new TV deal this fall, one expected to exceed $100 million a year.

The Big East has scrambled to stay afloat in the past year and had a 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 for football only.

John Marinatto resigns as Big East Conference commissioner 05/07/12 [Last modified: Monday, May 7, 2012 11:02pm]
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