Big East Conference Drops Last Pretense, Hires TV Executive As Commissioner

The Big East hired Mike Aresco to be its commissioner yesterday. Here are actual quotes from the presidents of two of the league's member schools, from the statement announcing the decision:

  • "His breadth of experience and depth of knowledge in intercollegiate athletics will continue to move the BIG EAST forward on a successful path."
  • "His career has been filled with achievement and success in intercollegiate sports."
  • So what is it that constitutes Aresco's "experience," "depth of knowledge," "achievement," and "success" in "intercollegiate athletics"? He comes to the Big East from the institution of higher education known as CBS Sports, where he has worked since 1996 as a vice president of programming. Along the way, he picked up the words "senior" and "executive" in front of his title.

    Here's more from that Big East statement:

    He is responsible for managing the division's college sports properties, including contract negotiations and future acquisitions for the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, regular-season college basketball and football bowl games. He also has been responsible for administering the network's various NCAA properties.

    Aresco was instrumental in negotiating the CBS Television Network's current landmark agreement with the NCAA granting CBS Sports and Turner Sports exclusive rights to the NCAA Men's Basketball through 2024 and the Network's historic 15-year deal with the SEC.

    Got that? Aresco's experience in college athletics has consisted solely of directing truckloads of money toward the men and women who profit from the effort of unpaid players. That's it. And as it happens, on Sept. 1, the Big East will begin negotiating its next television contract, with ESPN getting an exclusive 60-day window to hammer out a deal, after which the process gets thrown into the open market.

    There's no telling what kind of value there is in having Boise State play Louisville in prime time, but whatever it is, Mike Aresco is the just the guy to get a maximum return. Now that Penn State's been dealt with—so that, as NCAA president Mark Emmert put it, "Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people"—it's time to get back to business. And the Big East, which was founded to function as nothing more than a cash register, has no illusions about exactly what business it's in.