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Jun 02nd
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Big East: With Marinatto gone, Joe Bailey tries to give answers

bigeastfoot101011_optBY MATT SUGAM

The Big East is in a flux. That’s not news. It has been for quite some time with the seismic shifts in BCS Confrences.

Former commissioner John Marinatto was constantly under fire for being reactionary rather than proactive. After Marinatto was forced to resign, Joe Bailey has been named the interim commissioner, needing to keep the Big East away from the fault line until the post is permanently filled.

Speaking with the media for the first time Wednesday, Bailey said he wants to be transparent about the status of the Big East. To be candid to keep the public informed about the status of what some believe is an unraveling conference.

While some of his answers today were long, substantive, thoughtful responses, providing the asked material, many questions were artfully sidestepped.

What we know now is that Bailey has no interest in having the interim tag removed and becoming the Big East commissioner. While he thinks it would be a fabulous job, he thinks he’s too old.

This tremendous job in a conference facing its most tumultuous time in its 33-year history will be filled in three to four months.

The conference that will soon span from the east coast all the way to California will remain in tact as is despite reports otherwise.

“There has been no indication from anybody that I have talked to — and again, I haven't talked to everybody, but from anybody that I've talked to, I've talked to quite a number of people that there's any kind of — even close to this idea of any kind of split,” Bailey said.

So the Catholic schools without Big East football teams won’t bolt despite speculation over the last few days by several media outlets.

But what about the status of Syracuse and Pittsburgh? Will they be free to leave the conference before 2013 like Marinatto suggested at the Big East Tournament?

“Well, since I wasn't there, and honestly until — well, because I wasn't there, et cetera, I really couldn't — I can't answer that question,” Bailey said. “I simply can't answer it. I wish I could, but I cannot.”

What about the how much the Big East can make in its next television contract? The ACC just struck a 15 year $3.6 billion deal, earning them $17 million annually until 2027. How will the Big East compare when their current contract expires in the fall?

Bailey doesn’t know and wouldn’t speculate and won’t be involved in the TV contract negotiations.

What about the conference expanding further?

Bailey doesn’t know that either. He noted he hasn’t held the post long enough to be privy on such a subject given that he’s only held the post two days. A crutch he used to dodge several questions, like when a reporter followed up the original Syracuse and Pittsburgh question by asking if the discussions of their release would be revisited.

So as transparent as Bailey would like to be, he was not in his first meeting with the media. To his credit, he probably could not and definitely should not have been. He is still in the information gathering stage, learning just how big of a mess Marinatto has left and the steps needed to clean it up.

But Bailey said he plans on keeping the media — and, in turn, the public — in the loop with regular updates. Still, he’s the interim there to keep afloat a sinking ship until a new captain comes in to get it sailing in the right direction and back to solid ground.

Follow Matt Sugam on Twitter @MattSugam and like him on Facebook.


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