As of this morning the Big East has a new commissioner: Mike Aresco, late of CBS Sports. This is a good thing. A very, very, very good thing. The conference, as much as we may have loved it at one time, has been driven pretty far into the ground over the last ten years -- and especially in the last three since Mike Tranghese was commissioner -- by the clowns in Providence. Aresco, mercifully, is not one of those guys.
The cynical among us would be right to say that the hiring of Aresco is another nail in the coffin for the idea that college athletics are some scared bastion of amateurism. They would be wrong, mostly because that coffin is so full of nails I'm not sure we can add any more. The naked greed driving collegiate athletics is apparent to anyone who is even paying a scintilla of attention. If that's the game that everyone's going to play then it's nice to see that the Big East has finally decided it won't be using a rulebook from the 1980s.
So what does Aresco bring? The first thing is a fresh perspective -- he's not from Providence and he's not in this to try and perserve the dream of Dave Gavitt. I loved what the Big East was, but Gavitt's dream of an elite basketball-focused hasn't been realistic for 20 years and hasn't been practical for the last five or so. Hiring Aresco allows the Big East to admit that and move on.
Second, he brings TV experience. CBS has the SEC. It has the NCAA tournament. And Aresco was involved with all of that. He knows what his product is worth and has the connections and focus necessary to get the Big East the best deal possible. He's said his top priority is fixing the conference's brand and getting the maximum value for the Big East's next TV contract. If anyone knows how to do that, he should.
It's also worth noting that Aresco is going to be teaming with another new Big East hire, Chris Bevilacqua. Bevilacqua was brought in to spearhead the next round of TV contract negotiations for the Big East. And what's the biggest thing on Bevilacqua's resume? Oh, just negotiating the Pac-12's billion-dollar TV deal.
There's no guarantee that the Big East is going to get a ton of money going forward. But in today's world that's what they need to be trying to do, and Aresco certainly seems like an ideal person to be leading that effort. And just think, if everything goes right the Big East might wind up making more money than the ACC, which would be just lovely.
What do you think of the hire? Leave your thoughts in the comments.