Top 5 Big East Commissioner Candidates
Fourth in Line ...
Big East commissioner John Marinatto (pictured), the third commissioner in the league’s history, has resigned. Following Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese wasn’t an easy task, and Marinatto appears to be getting shoved aside by the conference’s members with the college conference landscape in chaos.
But as the Big East loses Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia and takes in a host of schools from lower conferences as replacements, we examine the five best candidates to take on this high-profile job based on credentials, performance, availability and potential interest.
5. Tim Pernetti (Rutgers AD)
Pernetti, 41, has an ideal profile for the next Big East commissioner. He is the type of young, ambitious person whose tireless effort could get the league headed back in the right direction. A New Jersey native and former Rutgers tight end who has been the AD for the Scarlet Knights since 2009, Pernetti is a Northeast guy - and that still means something in Big East territory, despite its geographical expansion.
But most importantly, Pernetti spent nearly a decade working for ABC Sports, in part as a liaison between the network and college conferences and football bowl games. He then helped College Sports TV turn into what is now CBS Sports Network. The Big East could use to get in the good graces of those calling the shots on TV deals. Would his youth cause and a dust-up with the league two months ago cause the conference leaders to pause before hiring him? He was considered for the job before Marinatto began on July 1, 2009. Now could be his time.
Photo: The Star-Ledger/US Presswire
4. Greg Shaheen (Ex-NCAA Interim Executive VP)
Talk about great timing. Shaheen (right), a universally well-liked and respected figure in college sports, resigned from his post as the interim executive vice president last month. He was at the NCAA for 12 years and was dubbed “the NCAA tournament czar” who helped oversee the tournament’s growth to a ridiculous 14-year, $10.8 billion contract with CBS and Turner.
A new TV contract is one of the most pressing issues for the Big East and there’s no one better suited than Shaheen for the job. However, there will be questions about whether Shaheen is ready for all the other responsibilities of being a commissioner after working for the NCAA for so long. But Shaheen would be a great PR move by the conference and would likely result in a huge payday soon.
3. Tom Odjakjian (Big East Associate Commissioner)
OK, so this wouldn’t be a big splash hire but Big East athletic directors and presidents might not want one. Odjakjian has been the Big East’s Associate Commissioner since 1995 whose primary responsibilities are - wait for it - TV rights (are you sensing a theme here?) He also spent over 13 years at ESPN, something you know sounds good to members that want to re-up with the Worldwide Leader badly. Senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli is also an option but has less experience.
What’s going against Odjakjian is that, when leaders are sent packing, normally their soldiers are sent for a hike too. Would the Big East really want its future in the hands of a man who was on staff for the recent downward spiral?
2. Tim Brosnan (MLB Executive VP)
Brosnan isn’t a big name or one that has much experience in a commissioner-like role. But he has had success handling negotiations of television contracts. In fact, that’s his job as an executive with MLB. For the troubles that baseball has had since the strike in 1994-95, it always has held strong with lucrative television deals - and that certainly can be attributed in part to Brosnan, who has been working in the commissioner’s office since 1991 and in an executive business role for MLB since 2000. The launch of the MLB Network in 2009 was a massive undertaking.
As we know, some critics of the Big East blame the conference’s refusal of a television deal from ESPN for its downward spiral. It’s argued that the departing schools want to be in a league that generates more money from TV. Brosnan can make sure that the Big East doesn’t run into that problem going forward and the SportsBusiness Journal reported last fall that his name kept coming up as a potential commish. and, oh yeah, Brosnan is a Georgetown alum who starred on the Hoyas’ baseball team.
But would Brosnan really leave his cushy job for this one after all that’s happened in the last several months?
Photo: Denny Medley/US Presswire
1. Kevin Weiberg (Pac-12 Deputy Commissioner)
This is the name on the lips of most people. Weiberg was another candidate for the job before it went to Marinatto. We definitely can see him getting it this time around. He has experience working with conferences, to say the least. Weiberg helped turn the Big 12 into a well-oiled machine as its commissioner; according to the Associated Press, he doubled the revenue given to members of the league on an annual basis from the start of his tenure with the Big 12, which lasted from 1998-2007.
He also at one point was a member of the Big Ten who worked on the Big Ten Network and is currently working with the Pac-12, which just cashed in a $3 billion TV deal. Weiberg seems like the recipe for what ails the Big East. The league needs to make more money now to remain a power league. It looks like Weiberg is your money man.