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Playing Catch-Up

May 14, 2012
May 14, 2012

Table of Contents
May 14, 2012

GOLF PLUS
LEADING OFF
THE MAIL
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
JUNIOR SEAU
HORSE RACING
BOXING
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
THE BRYANTS
  • You might assume that Kobe Bryant inherited his talent for basketball and his burning need to dominate from his father, former NBA and Italian league player Joe (Jellybean) Bryant. But Joe and Kobe are substantially different, and while the son got some gifts from his father, he got his fire from an unexpected source

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Playing Catch-Up

The departure of the Big East commissioner is a sign of the times

As conference TV contracts creep into the billions and college football sits on the brink of a lucrative four-team playoff, the traditional path to college sports leadership—mainly, years as a university administrator—is becoming antiquated. Now conferences are looking to the business world for help. In 2009 the Pac-12 hired Larry Scott, CEO of the Women's Tennis Association, as its commissioner, and he reinvented the conference through expansion, rebranding and new TV contracts. Last week the Big 12 hired Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby as its new commissioner, due in large part to his work with Scott.

This is an article from the May 14, 2012 issue

John Marinatto, who resigned under pressure as Big East commissioner on Monday, graduated from Providence in 1979 and spent his entire career in that city, serving as AD at his alma mater before joining the conference office. He became commissioner just three years ago. Unfortunately, his insular background worked against him. While other conferences aggressively strengthened themselves, the Big East languished in a perpetual state of disunion between its FBS football members and its smaller basketball schools. Following a second raid in eight years by the ACC (which will soon add Syracuse and Pittsburgh) and the ensuing departure of West Virginia (to the Big 12), Marinatto pieced together a clunky conglomeration that will soon stretch from San Diego (State) to Connecticut.

The league is losing its favored-nation BCS status. Its one hope for redemption: upcoming negotiations for its TV contracts. ESPN, NBC and Fox are all expected to bid, thus driving up the price. By then they'll be dealing with a new commissioner—presumably someone with broader business experience.

PHOTOSTEW MILNE/AP (MARINATTO)Big problem Under Marinatto, the Big East had to scramble as its members were raided by the more aggressive ACC and Big 12.