After talking about the television negotiations coming up (there will be multiple networks bidding on the rights) and working out some details of the new Big East tournament (which will expand to 18 teams in 2014), the Big East meetings chugged along through Wednesday morning. They talked about conference business and matters that are of interest to the fans and other more mundane tasks.
One of the matters that was discussed was the hiring of a new commissioner. Interim placeholder, Joe Bailey, told ESPN.com that they were prepared to begin interviewing search firms next week to help the league decide on a new leader. Originally, Bailey told reporters that the conference would have a new commissioner in place in "three-to-four months" and while that timeline still stands, the league's membership would prefer to move quicker.
"We will interview search firms next week, and probably a decision [on which firm to use] will be made shortly thereafter and [we will] immediately go into the market," interim commissioner Joe Bailey [told the Philadelphia Inquirer] Wednesday, the final day of the meetings here. "I think we will fast track it. To the degree that we can move the process quickly, [it] would be in the best interest of everyone."
As for what the league is looking for, Bailey told ESPN:
"I'd say to you that there's always the definition of an effective leader -- on balance, that's what you're looking for," Bailey said. "Someone that can take the conference and continue to move it forward over an extended period of time. You're not looking for an individual that would be some sort of caretaker but somebody who would be able to grow with the conference itself. You're going to find an enormous number of capable people interested in a position like this."
A new television deal will undoubtedly be worth significantly more money to each member. Consultants reportedly told the conference that the conference would fetch $6.4 million per year for each football-only member (Boise State/SDSU/Navy) on the low-end (about double what current football members receive) and basketball members are expecting to at-least double their pay-out to around $3million per year (to compare, the Atlantic 10 splits about $1million 14 ways every year).
Some believe that with competitive bidding, the conference could do better than those numbers, however. Former CBS executive and current consultant, Neal Pilson, told the New York Times that, the league could approach or exceed the ACC's $155 million annual deal with ABC/ESPN.
The plan appears to be to hold off on any further football expansion until a commissioner and television contract are in place. According to San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk, the conference hopes to approach western candidates from a "position of strength" after securing a new deal. They hope to add at least one more western football-only member in 2015 when Navy joins the conference.
The conference has already had discussions with Air Force and BYU and is expected to make another push for those schools. Other candidates to become a western partner might be considered, however, if those two schools continue to opt to remain in their current situations.
It isn't unthinkable that the league would take both schools if there were mutual interest.