Big East Picks Aresco as New Commish | Zagsblog
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Sunday / May 19.
  • Big East Picks Aresco as New Commish

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    The Big East named CBS executive vice president Mike Aresco its new Commissioner on Tuesday.

    He will assume his new duties in 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.  “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.”

    The Big East is in transition and will begin crucial negotiations on a new television contract in September. The defections of longtime members West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse cost former Commissioner John Marinatto his job earlier this year.

    Former Boston Globe reporter Mark Blaudschun first reported the Big East had picked Aresco on his blog,

    The Big East lost West Virginia, along with member-to-be TCU, to the Big 12 this year. Syracuse and Pittsburgh depart for the Atlantic Coast Conference next year. Temple rejoined the Big East on short notice this year to replace West Virginia.

    Six new members are scheduled to join the Big East next year, including Boise State and San Diego State for football only, to create a coast-to-coast, 12-team football conference.

    Also set to join the Big East in 2013 are Memphis, Central Florida, Houston and SMU.

    Navy has committed to join the conference in 2015, and the Big East will eventually be in the market for another school to give it 14 football members when the Midshipmen join.

    But up first is landing a TV contract. On Sept. 1, ESPN and the Big East begin a 60-day exclusive negotiating period. If they don’t work out a deal, the Big East’s media rights go on the open market.

    Aresco has extensive experience with TV.

    At CBS Sports, Aresco has been responsible for all college programming for the Network.  In addition, he has been involved with the strategic development of CBS Sports Network programming.  He joined CBS Sports as Vice President, Programming, in 1996 and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2000 and named Executive Vice President, Programming in 2008.  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.

    Before CBS Sports, Aresco worked at ESPN where he was responsible for overseeing the acquisition, scheduling and development of long-term strategies for all of ESPN and ESPN2 college sports properties.  He joined ESPN in 1984 and was named Assistant General Counsel in 1988 before moving to the ESPN programming department.

    “The search committee identified some truly outstanding candidates and we are most pleased that Mike Aresco will be the person who will take the Big East to future success,” said Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida President and Chair of the Big East CEO Executive Committee.  “He has all of the characteristics that we need in a Commissioner.  His career has been filled with achievement and success in intercollegiate sports.  Mike Aresco knows the Big East and he has a great vision for our future.”

    “The Presidents have acted very responsibly,” said Interim Commissioner Joe Bailey.  “They have appointed a leader with integrity, intelligence and energy.  Bravo!”

    (The AP contributed; Photo: CBS Sports)


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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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