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Should Marinatto Step Down?

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Big East commissioner John Marinatto speaks to reporters (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

The Big East needs leadership, foresight, and maybe some creativity to survive expansion apocalypse. They needed those things months ago, when the conference was hoping to be on the prowl itself. Now the whole thing is on the verge of collapse.

Some in the league opposed Marinatto being hired in the first place. It was part of the reason that West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Rutgers have expressed some discontent with the league office along the way. When Mike Tranghese resigned from that role after the last ACC raid, the conference interviewed a few candidate to take over the job, one was John Marinatto and another finalist was a CBS College Sports executive who would later become the Rutgers' Athletic Director — Tim Pernetti.

In a way, Marinatto never had a chance to succeed. There was plenty of support for Pernetti to be in his job, and those and Pernetti himself were always going to give some push-back to whatever Marinatto wanted to accomplish.

A good leader, however, would have overcome that and reasserted himself as something more than a figurehead.

Jeff Goodman called some of the Big East basketball head coaches on his speed dial to talk about Marinatto's leadership, and the results were not shocking.

"I firmly believe we would manage this a lot better with a different leader," said one coach. "He's a good man, a good right-hand man. But I think he's in over his head."

Other coaches suggested that with another leader, with Mike Tranghese or the recently-passed Dave Gavitt, the Big East wouldn't be in this position, or at least would have handled it better.

It seems that nobody in the Big East has much confidence in the man who is charged with leading them out of a time of panic and crisis. How can a man lead when nobody believes in him enough to follow?

It is probably time that John Marinatto resigned from his post. For the good of the conference and it's member schools and for the hope that maybe somehow a new leader can drag the conference out of this quagmire. The Big XII commissioner, Dan Beebe was recently handed his pink slip in a similar fashion.

In order to survive, the Big East needs a leader who can get the remaining members to commit to the conference for the forseeable future and manage a campaign to expand the football side of the league in a fashion that will increase revenues and create stability. Who would that commissioner be? Would it be handed to Tim Pernetti? Would they hire a consultant like the Big XII? Does it matter?

Marinatto did have some supporters, who thought that the raid was inevitable. It probably was. It happened on John Marinatto's watch, however, and the buck has to stop somewhere.