Big East reaction roundup: Opinions fly after commish steps down


Big EastAfter Action weighed in Monday on what the resignation of Big East Commissioner John Marinatto might mean to the Navy football program, which will begin play in the Big East in 2015 and was brought in as part of a Marinatto-led football expansion.

We weren’t the only ones. Click through for links to four other pieces on the future of the conference, plus some Navy-themed notes on each.

1. Pete Thamel, New York Times
“The Big East is a bit like the game Jenga, a stack of wooden blocks haphazardly arranged atop one another. ”
Summary: Can a league with 13 far-flung football members and an eye-popping 18 basketball members — the Big East lineup as of 2015, when Navy football joins — survive the kind of turmoil triggered by a forced-out commissioner and impending television negotiations? Thamel gives a few reasons why, but cautions that basketball-only members could have cause to bolt, forming their own hoops league. That could trigger football instability, TV deal problems, mass defections — think Jenga, but the end part, when your sister knocks the stack over.
Navy note: The Mids have little sway in decisions being made by a conference they haven’t started playing in yet. They have even less sway among hoops teams in that conference. If basketball becomes a major sticking point in future league matters, it’s tough to see how Navy’s voice gets heard.

2. Kelly Whiteside and Steve Wieberg, USA Today
Quote: “The fall of the Big East as a major football conference did not come Monday.”
Summary: A good look by our friends at USA Today at the recent history of the conference, including the defections of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia; the addition of Boise State and some Conference USA refugees; and how everything might shake out with leadership in flux.
Navy note: Experts in the piece say the league’s lack of football strength will turn off potential commissioner candidates. That’s not the national perspective any fan would want for their conference, especially if it’s their first conference in school history after a century-plus of independence.

3. David Teel, Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press
Quote: “Marinatto’s departure re-emphasized the Big East’s chronic, perhaps terminal, instability.”
Summary: What would a good conference-realignment disaster story be without Notre Dame speculation? Teel talks about the Irish’s long-rumored shift to the Atlantic Coast Conference and what such a move would do to a vulnerable Big East. Hint: Wouldn’t help.
Navy note: Teel previously suggested that the ACC try to land Navy football as a way to lure the Irish as a full member. Doesn’t seem likely now, but if Notre Dame were to join a conference and had to jam the Mids, Army and Air Force — along with USC, maybe Michigan and possibly Stanford — into a four-game nonleague schedule, somebody’s going to get squeezed out.

4. Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News
Quote: “Marinatto should not have been blindsided, but it’s apparent he was.”
Summary: Rather than dwell on the potential of Big East schools scattering in the winds to other conferences, DeCourcy outlines the skills the next commish will need to keep the league together. The short version: Recognize the football and basketball strengths offered by the conference, keep the hoops and gridiron backers from separating and devouring each other, and be able to pitch what’s been a competitive football slate to a hungry sports media determined to label the conference as “second rate.”
Navy note: DeCourncy’s right about the vision thing. That extends to the Mids more so than other schools. The conference’s new leader must be able to appreciate what the academy brings to the conference — a national profile and an off-the-field legacy no other Big East school can match. Without that understanding, the Mids risk becoming a bit player in a struggling conference.


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