Despite not really being in the Big East anymore, we all still grew up watching Pitt in the conference and therefore will continue to pay attention to the league as they enter a crucial period in the conference's 30+ year history. First up is hiring a new commissioner. As a football-playing member (at least for another 343 days, anyway), we have a different opinion on what are the necessary qualities the next Big East commissioner should have. Here is my list:
- Have experience working with television networks
- Charismatic and influential
- Able to sell the conference as a big player in college football
Here is what the Big East is probably looking for:
- Providence alum
- Follow the belief that basketball is for gods and football is for heathens*
- Believe that the calendar year only runs from November to April*
- Willing to give control of all conference affairs to Providence College*
* Not actually necessary. Really. Candidates only need a degree from Providence College.
Louisville's Rick Pitino suggested on his blog (and, yes - his blog is exactly what you would expect) that the Big East consider hiring ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas. These are the qualities that Pitino thinks the next commish should have.
*A presence that Presidents and Athletic Directors will respect.
*A strong personality and creative thinker.
*A television background and a total understanding of the diversity of its constituents.
*An ability to bring football into the limelight .
First off, Rick. You forgot the most important quality. A degree from Providence.
Jokes aside, I like Jay Bilas as an analyst. His opinions are well-reasoned and he's not completely biased towards one team or conference like every other ESPN analyst. And he fits almost all of those requirements that Pitino lists.
Except for being football-oriented.
Not that Bilas isn't capable. Larry Scott went from being in charge of the WTA to then lead the Pac-12 in getting a lucrative television contract and nearly had Texas and Oklahoma in the Pac-12. Bilas could easily do something similar for the Big East.
But Bilas is not who the Big East needs. The Big East needs someone who understands just how big of a cash cow football is and I'm not convinced a basketball analyst fully does.
There's also another matter. Who does Bilas currently works for? ESPN. Who does the Big East have negotiations with in September? ESPN. Would Bilas be able to say no to an offer from ESPN? Would he be willing to take the conference's media rights away from The Worldwide Leader, where they've been since both the Big East and ESPN began? I don't know and if I'm the Big East, I'm wondering the same thing.
The Big East has an opportunity to land a big paycheck, especially if they take to the open market. Jay Bilas is certainly a strong candidate and would make a good commissioner. Let's see what other names come up, though.