John Marinatto, the man at the forefront of major changes in the Big East, has resigned, the conference confirmed in an official statement.
“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,” Marinatto said in the statement released Monday morning. “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.”
McMurphy cites sources in saying that league presidents asked Marinatto to resign Sunday.
The Big East announced that Joseph A. Bailey III will assume the role as interim commissioner. He was previously the CEO of the Miami Dolphins.
The 54-year-old Marinatto is just the third commissioner in the history of the Big East, having taken over in 2009 for Mike Tranghese, who served from 1990-2009. The late Dave Gavitt was the commissioner at the league’s inception, serving from 1979-1990.
Marinatto was representing the Big East as a new football playoff format was being constructed, set to take effect in 2014, and questions were being raised about how much revenue the new plan would generate for the conference.
The Big East’s media rights deal is set to expire in September, and the conference is readying for a round of major negotiating.
The face of the conference has changed significantly in the past two years, with West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and TCU all leaving for other conferences, with Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC, West Virginia and TCU to the Big 12.
To fill those vacancies, the Big East brought in programs that reached from coast to coast: Temple, Memphis, Central Florida, Southern Methodist, Houston, Boise State, San Diego State, and Navy.
San Diego State, Navy, and Boise State would be added as football-only members. Temple is set to join the conference in 2012, with most others joining in 2013, with the exception of Navy, who will join in 2015.
Previous to his time with the Big East, Marinatto worked at Providence College as the sports information director and athletic director.