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Big East Commisioner Steps Down

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Big East Conference

As if the continuing changes to Big East Conference membership wasn't enough, now the man leading the Conference is stepping down. 

John Marinatto announced his resignation as Big East Commissioner this morning, just three years after taking the job. 

ESPN Sports.com quotes a source who says "Marinatto's exit had been building for weeks," and the basketball members in the Big East (which would include the University of South Florida) "were upset that they had no say in the expansion process." 

Over the last few months, the Big East lost founding members Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia to other conferences; seen replacement school TCU never play a conference game before it moved to the Big 12; and signed deals with Temple for this year, and Boise State and San Diego State (football-only schools), SMU, Central Florida, Houston and Memphis (all sports members) for 2013. Navy will join the conference in 2015.

In a press release announcing the move, University of South Florida President and Chair of the Big East Conference, Judy Genshaft, praised both Marinatto and Joseph A. Bailey III, who will serve as interim commissioner.

“I know I speak for the entire Conference when I express my sincere gratitude to John for his leadership and dedicated years of service,” said Dr. Judy Genshaft, President of the University of South Florida and Chair of the BIG EAST Conference. “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. ...Joe is a proven leader who will do a terrific job guiding the conference through this time of transition,” said Genshaft.   “His experience as a manager and his knowledge of the sports industry make Joe uniquely qualified to serve as interim Commissioner. He will move the Conference forward with a steady-hand as we explore new opportunities.”

Bailey currently is as a recruiting firm executive, but has previously been CEO of the Miami Dolphins and administrative Vice President for the Dallas Cowboys. He'll hold the interim tag while the search for a new commissioner takes place.

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