The Big East has been in a constant state of turmoil over the last year, watching mainstays depart and the conference ultimately crumble into a former shelf of itself. As it begins to pick up the pieces, however, the conference has made a major step in the right direction.
Creighton's website confirmed that Ackerman would be named the Big East's new commissioner on Wednesday, making her the conference's first female commissioner.
The BIG EAST today announced the appointment of Val Ackerman, a pioneer with nearly 25 years of experience as a high-level sports executive and a passionate advocate for the values of amateur athletics, to serve as the first Commissioner of the newly reconstituted, 10-team BIG EAST Conference. The BIG EAST, which will be headquartered in New York City, will officially commence operations on July 1, 2013.
Andy Katz of ESPN first broke the story.
Sources: Ackerman new Big East commisioner http://t.co/AhpGewaUmh— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) June 26, 2013
Katz reports that Ackerman and the Big East had been negotiating terms since Friday.
Katz also reports that Ackerman will be announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
The news was confirmed by Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.
Val Ackerman is indeed the new commissioner of the new Big East, source confirms to the Tribune.— Brian Hamilton (@ChiTribHamilton) June 26, 2013
The new Big East currently consists of Butler, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, Villanova and Xavier. Seven of those teams come from the original Big East, while Creighton, Providence and Xavier have made the leap from other conferences.
A more basketball-centric conference than ever, adding a commissioner well equipped in running a basketball operation is a wise move.
Ackerman spent time as a special assistant to NBA commissioner David Stern before taking the WNBA reigns in 1996. She was in charge of the WNBA until 2005 and currently serves on the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame committee.
All in all, it's fair to say Val Ackerman is a powerful presence.
This is not to say that Ackerman will be unable to help in other sports, but she is just what the new Big East needed.
The Big East took a grand step toward a return to prominence with this hiring.