John Marinatto has resigned as commissioner of the Big East Conference, it announced this morning in a press release. Joseph A. Bailey III will be the interim commissioner.
“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,” said Marinatto in a release. ”I have been associated with this league for my entire adult life and have had the tremendous honor of serving as its Commissioner since 2009.”
Marinatto stepped down in his third year with a mixed record. Though basketball powerhouse Connecticut won a championship in men’s basketball (2011) and two women’s titles (2009, 2010), Marinatto’s legacy will likely be defined by conference realignment.
With Marinatto at the helm, the Big East lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and West Virginia bolted to the Big 12. TCU, which was originally slated to join the Big East instead went to the Big 12.
Following those departures, the Big East attempted to save its BCS automatic qualifier status by bringing in Temple, Memphis, SMU, UCF, Houston, Boise State, San Diego State and Navy.
The move may not be enough to save the conference from irrelevance, as the BCS recently announced that it was considering shifting to a playoff and dissolving the AQ system.
“Our recent expansion efforts have stabilized the Conference for the long term, and we are likewise well positioned for our very important upcoming television negotiations (in September, 2012),” Marinatto said. “As a result, I felt this was the right time to step aside and to let someone else lead us through the next chapter of our evolution.”
Marinatto was the conference’s third commissioner. He took over for Mike Tranghese in 2009.
“I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish and would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank both our membership and my staff for their unwavering encouragement, support and loyalty — especially during this past year,” Marinatto said. “I am extremely confident about the future of this league that I love very much.”
CBSSports.com was the first to report the resignation.