We are now a whopping 17 days away from the official start of the new Big East. Yet as was the case when Mike Aresco announced the basketball-only schools had split from the football playing schools, and as was the case when the new Big East presidents trumpeted their media contract with Fox Sports (complete with emcee Gus Johnson), the conference still has yet to hire a commissioner. Many names have been bandied about during the three plus months since the original announcement, but the presidents apparently are still pondering.
Both Jamie Zaninovich (WCC commish) and Dan Gavitt (NCAA VP and son of Big East founder Dave Gavitt) were early favorites, and neither got the job. According to Andy Katz, Boston Celtics team president Rich Gotham turned down an offer to head the conference of his alma mater (Providence). Now, according to a report from Mark Blaudschun of ajerseyguy.com, some new names include Big Ten Deputy Commish Brad Traviolia and former as well as first WNBA president Val Ackerman. And yes, Blaudschun indicates Dan Gavitt is back in the mix. All have been interviewed by the presidents. A decision is reportedly imminent, sometime in the next couple of days (like we haven’t heard THAT before).
What we do know is this; to say the least, it’s been a painstaking search. Interim commissioner Dan Beebe ran Big East meetings a few weeks ago, but there’s only so much he can do. While the conference is left basically without a leader, the flirtation between the ACC and Madison Square Garden is ongoing and quite possibly escalating. As Blaudschun says, the location of the new office has not even been selected, let alone staffed. I understand the presidents want to complete their due diligence, but this is ridiculous. The conference begins in a shade over two weeks. For goodness sake, hire someone.