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Big East Commissioner John Marinatto Resigns


John Marinatto resigned as Big East Conference commissioner, Nicole Auerbach reported on USA Today Monday morning.

The oft criticized Marinatto oversaw a great deal of change in his 34 months as commissioner. The Big East gained Houston, SMU, UCF, Memphis, San Diego State and Boise State, but lost Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia and TCU — the latter of which never played a game there. Marinatto bore the brunt of those hefty departures’ impacts, as well as disappointment in not securing Missouri, Kansas State, and Kansas from a seemingly unstable Big 12.

Additionally, the conference turned down an offer sheet from ESPN. Television rights are the engines driving conference realignment, and the Big East balked at an inopportune time.

Fairly or not, Marinatto will be associated with the conference’s shortcomings in this era. The key for Big East members now is moving forward, and fast. Developments involving the Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA and WAC just a few weeks proved how swiftly the landscape shifts. The Big East needs decisive leadership, with rumblings of widescale change on the horizon.

Conference brass should look to a former member turned opponent for a perfect candidate: West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck. How much interest Luck would have in leading a conference with which he just clashed is questionable, he’d have any at all. But it’s worth putting out feelers. Luck has proven himself to be aggressive and authoritative when situations call for it.

He acted decisively when news of Bill Stewart trying to sabotage coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen emerged. His pursuit of a stable landing spot for WVU bore fruit after he fought tirelessly to broker a deal. Luck is familiar with the conference’s weaknesses, as well as its potentials.

The worst he can say is no, right?