Big East commissioner John Marinatto resigned today at the behest of the Big East school presidents.
When news like this breaks out of nowhere, you can't help but feel shocked by it initially. Wow, just like that he's out.
And then after that initial shock wears off, you realize this is not surprising news at all. The only thing that's ultimately surprising about it is that they waited this long to force him out.
"After a great deal of thought and prayer, I have decided to step down as Commissioner of the BIG EAST Conference and formally advised our Board of Directors," stated Marinatto. "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. Our recent expansion efforts have stabilized the Conference for the long term, and we are likewise well positioned for our very important upcoming television negotiations. As a result, I felt this was the right time to step aside and to let someone else lead us through the next chapter of our evolution. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish and would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank both our membership and my staff for their unwavering encouragement, support and loyalty -- especially during this past year. I am extremely confident about the future of this league that I love very much."
And so, the man who told us "The Big East is in a better position today than it's ever been" every time something happened to put the Big East in a worse position than it's ever been is out and the Big East Conference is left to wonder what the hell it does from here.
I can already see the reactionary pieces coming down that Marinatto was a scapegoat and not totally responsible for the downfall of the conference. To an extent, there is truth in that. He's only been the commissioner since 2009 and the wheels were already in motion for the conference's dramatic fall long before he got here.
But Marinatto always represented the very essence of everything that was wrong with the Big East. The ideology that we should protect the tiny Catholic colleges of the conference at the expense of the football members. It is truly any wonder that the five best football programs in the history of the Big East are no longer members?
The Big East waited too long, sat on its laurels and assumed that it's member schools would follow it blindly simply because that was the status quo. The conference held that mindset long before Marinatto took over but he took that standard, ran with it and refused to break from it or think outside of its parameters as the game changed around him and his league.
I'm sure John Marinatto is a nice guy and I don't think he ever had anything but good intentions for the Big East. But he was a product of the old school. He led the Big East as if it was 1985, basketball was king and Providence mattered. Meanwhile, new-school thinkers like Oliver Luck and Daryl Gross came into power and made power-moves that took care of their schools when the conference wouldn't.
It's unfortunate that the Big East is in the situation it's in. I'm willing to bet almost every Syracuse Orange fan wishes we could remain in the Big East and watch it flourish in all sports. However, we lost faith in the conference and its leadership. So did Pitt and West Virginia. And, apparently, so did the all of the schools left behind.
Fare thee well, John Marinatto. We knew you hardly.
Visit Big East Coast Bias for all the updates of Marinatto's resignation.