Say this for the Big East: It didn't drop this news on at 4:30 on a Friday. The conference announced Monday morning that John Marinatto will step down after nearly three years as league commissioner. Marinatto's 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."
Thought, prayer and pressure from conference presidents, according to Brett McMurphy, who first reported the story.
Marinatto presided over what will charitably be called a "tumultuous period" in league history, and realignment shifts occurring on his watch will echo at least through the 2015 season. A quick cheat sheet (see Stewart Mandel's map of the conference square dance for a more complete picture):
• 2012: TCU joins the Big 12 instead of joining the Big East as originally planned; West Virginia leaves the Big East for the Big 12; the Big East regains Temple.
• 2013: Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and UCF will join the Big East; Syracuse and Pitt will jump to the ACC.
• 2015: Navy will join the Big East.
The league, in the meantime, has installed former Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys official Joseph A. Bailey III as interim commissioner, and will be shelling out some consultant dollars to marshal all its tentacles:
The Conference also announced that it has retained The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to review its organizational design and structure. As the BIG EAST transitions to a national conference, its members will take this opportunity to position the Conference to maximize its media rights, branding and other strategies.