Big East Needs a New Commissioner: John Marinatto Must Step Aside

David DietzContributor IIIOctober 27, 2011

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 29:  John Marinatto, Big East Conference Commissioner, talks with the media after Texas Christian University accepted an invitation for full membership into The Big East Conference on November 29, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  TCU will leave the Mountain West Conference for The Big East in July 2012.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

"Big East Meets With Air Force"

When I saw that headline, I knew that was the last straw. The ESPN article only reinforced my beliefs: The Big East Conference needs a new commissioner.

As a Georgetown Hoya, I'd love to see fellow alum and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue take the reigns, but that is besides the point. If the Big East hopes to survive, John Marinatto must go. 

What has Marinatto's short legacy been so far?

As a newly appointed commissioner, he allowed the chancellor of Pittsburgh University to convince him to turn down the richest TV offer in the league's history (close to a billion dollars), only to see Pittsburgh and Syracuse bolt for the ACC less than a year, destroying the foundations of the NCAA's strongest basketball league in the process. 

In the aftermath, through bumbling indecision and a complete lack of vision, Marinatto pushed UCONN and Rutgers to beg the ACC to take them as well and conference heavyweights Louisville and WVU to fight for which team would fill the Big XII's opening.

TCU, the commissioner's big catch of a season ago, reserved course and ran for the cover of the Big XII before ever playing a game in the Big East and Marinatto's prized backup, Boise State, is now negotiating with the Big West (That's even a conference?!).

Now? He and his incompetent minions have to fly to Colorado to convince the Air Force to join their league in shambles. 

With due respect to the wonderful cadets in the Air Force, shouldn't ESPN's header be reversed?

Shouldn't it read, "Air Force Meets with Big East?" Shouldn't Air Force be the ones begging for inclusion into the league? After all, they are a sports school of undistinguished acclaim from the Mountain West who would be joining as a football member only. 

It would be like Obama pleading with the President of Latvia for an official visit.

Why are we even recruiting Air Force in the first place? What does Air Force have anything do with the Big East's Northeastern basketball roots?

To add insult to injury, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun responded coolly to Marinatto's desperate courtship saying, "The Big East did give us a lot to think about," and that, "the decision will be in large part based on what's best for the cadet athletes, the Air Force Academy as an institution and the bigger Air Force."

To clarify: The Big East is now such a tarnished brand, that a mediocre football program in a mid-major conference with no automatic bid is undecided about joining an established conference with a guaranteed automatic BSC championship bowl appearance even though they have no better offers.

To say Marinatto is in over his head and is embarrassing a once-proud league is an understatement. 

If you still have doubt, ask the athletic directors at TCU, Boise StateWVU, Louisville or Uconn.

The Big East has already lost two member schools and had one leave before it ever played a game. If the other 14 schools want to see their conference survive (although at this point that's even questionable), then they must come together and demand that Marinatto resign. 

He managed to torpedo the conference in a little over two years. I'd hate to have to see what he can do with two more.