The Big East has found its new commissioner, signifying at the same time that the conference has a clear — or, at least much better — understanding of what’s truly important to its survival:
First reported by Mark Blaudschun, the Big East announced Tuesday afternoon that it has hired CBS Sports Vice President Mike Aresco as its new commissioner. Aresco will begin assuming duties in early September.
“The search to identify the new Commissioner of The BIG EAST Conference was truly an international search,” said Greg Williams, University of Cincinnati President and Chair of the Commissioner Search Committee in a statement. “We had many outstanding candidates, but we are fortunate to have Mike Aresco as our new Commissioner. His breadth of experience and depth of knowledge in intercollegiate athletics will continue to move the BIG EAST forward on a successful path. The BIG EAST has enjoyed a great history. Mike Aresco will help assure the conference of a vibrant future.”
It’s the right hire at the right time. Aresco’s first order of business will be to oversee the conference’s new TV deal discussion, which begins on Sept. 1 with a 60-day exclusive negotiating window with ESPN. Handling those negotiations will be Chris Bevilacqua of Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures. Bevilacqua led negotiations for the Pac-12 TV deal inked last year, as well as the Pac-12 Networks set to launch this week.
The next couple of months should mark the beginning of some stability for a conference in desperate need of some. The Big East lost four football members last year to the ACC (Pitt, Syracuse) and Big 12 (TCU, West Virginia), and struggled with new membership (re: Boise State) because of a lack of a longterm TV deal; the conference reportedly turned down a TV deal that would have paid all-sports members roughly $14 million annually.
The Big East’s former commissioner, John Marinatto, has since “retired.”
Whether the Big East can still get something in that ballpark remains to be seen, but at least the conference is hiring someone who understands the value of television as it relates to the overall health of the conference.
It’s not quite over, but No. 25 Virginia Tech will be firmly entrenched in the driver’s seat of the ACC Coastal heading into the final month of the regular season.
Thanks in large part to 406 yards passing from Jerod Evans, Tech was able to survive off a fourth-quarter rally by Pittsburgh and secure a 39-36 road win Thursday night. Evans’ performance was easily the best of his career, and just the second time he’s gone for 300-plus yards. The first (307) for the first-year starter came just two weeks ago in a loss to Syracuse.
Evans was also part of an offense that rolled up a season-high 556 yards on the night.
With the win, Tech improves to 4-1 in conference play, tied with North Carolina for the Coastal lead. However, by virtue of the Hokies’ Oct. 8 win over the Tar Heels, they control their own destiny in the division. Tech has three league games remaining — at Duke (0-3) and home games against Georgia Tech (1-3) and Virginia (1-2) — and, if they win all three, they will represent the division in the ACC championship game. UNC would need to win out plus see Tech lose at least one game in order to win the division.
Pitt fell to 3-2, with those two losses coming to VT and UNC, meaning they have essentially eliminated themselves from Coastal contention. In a losing effort, Pitt running back James Conner contributed 141 yards and three scores on the ground on just 19 carries.
A Pennsylvania jury has awarded former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary a whopping $7.3 million on Thursday evening in a case that found the school defamed him for his role in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the jury (which included two PSU employees) took just under four hours to render the verdict. While the lawsuit is not completely over because a judge has to rule on McQueary’s whistleblower claim, the verdict is nevertheless a blow to the Nittany Lions after the school was found guilty of defamation and misrepresentation in the case.
McQueary, a former quarterback in State College and an assistant under Joe Paterno, was at the center of the Sandusky scandal back in 2011. He allegedly witnessed Sandusky’s sexual assault of a boy in team facilities back in 2001 and reported what he saw to Paterno and others, but nothing was done about the crime. The revelations a key part in a case against Sandusky and eventually led to the ouster of Paterno and McQueary’s subsequent loss of his own job at the school.
The timing of the news is probably not what Penn State fans wanted to hear about this week after they celebrated the program’s biggest win since the scandal last Saturday in a come from behind victory over then-No. 2 Ohio State.
It’s been a rough slate for the “dudes” at Boston College the past few years.
The Eagles are 3-4 with very few wins over FBS teams the past two seasons and are on a 12 game losing streak in ACC play. N.C. State, Louisville, Florida State, UConn and Wake Forest are coming up on the schedule and so it goes without saying that winning three of those in order to make it to a bowl game in 2016 is going to be tough.
Even with that run of losses in the league and a second straight year without a postseason berth, it appears unlikely for the school will make a move to fire head coach Steve Addazio according to USA Today‘s Dan Wolken.
Addazio, who is 20–25 overall in Chestnut Hill, has two things working in his favor per the report: a decently-sized buyout at a school with some tight purse strings and the potential for having a new athletic director after Brad Bates’ contract expires next year.
“In other words, there’s a school of thought at Boston College that it might just be better from a timing perspective to give Addazio one more chance to turn it around and start fresh with a new athletics director next year,” writes Wolken.
It probably isn’t what Boston College fans want to hear after two 7-6 seasons have given way to potential two years without a bowl under Addazio and one of the most frustrating offenses in the country to watch on a weekly basis. Perhaps the head coach can turn things around in the coming weeks and months but it probably helps lessen the pressure knowing he’ll at least have some additional time to get the program back on track.
When USA Today released their annual series on college football coaching salaries, it wasn’t a complete shock to see Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh top the list given how much the school has invested in him since he returned to Ann Arbor from the NFL.
What was a little surprising was the total compensation figure listed for the Wolverines’ head coach at a whopping $9,004,000. That’s a figure that’s more than $2 million more than the second highest paid coach (Nick Saban) and $3 million more than Big Ten rival Urban Meyer.
As it turns out, that lofty salary is mostly the result of the way Harbaugh’s contract is structured and due to roughly $4 million in insurance premium payments on top of his standard half a million salary. But that’s not going to be the coach’s final compensation number at all this year as he has a chance to top the $10 million mark through a variety of bonuses.
Per USA Today:
- $125,000 if the team plays in the Big Ten Conference championship.
- $125,000 if the team wins the Big Ten title game.
- $300,000 if the team plays in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
- $500,000 if the team wins the national championship.
- $50,000 for being voted Big Ten coach of the year by the conference’s coaches.
- $75,000 for winning any one of six national coach of the year awards.
- At athletics director Warde Manuel’s discretion, up to $150,000 based on the team’s academic performance, as long as its single-year and multi-year NCAA Academic Progress Rate figures are at least 960.
Michigan is ranked No. 2 in the country and has a fairly clear path to the College Football Playoff and national title game if they keep playing like they have so it’s not hard to see Harbaugh hitting most of those bonuses to become the sport’s first $10 million man.
While fans at many other schools may throw their hands up in disgust as a result of those figures, you can bet maize and blue fans believe Harbaugh to be worth every single penny.