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New Big East to hire a commissioner this week

The new Big East hasn't completed its start-up checklist just yet, but a major step in the process should be completed this week.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The new Big East conference has added three teams to get to 10 members, signed off on a lucrative new television contract and reached an agreement with Madison Square Garden to host a postseason tournament there in Men's Basketball. The to-do list before the league launches as an entity for the 2013-14 season is still much longer, but the process of completing that list should be simplified soon.

According the a number of reports, the league presidents have narrowed their commissioner search down to a shortlist of finalists -- the identities of whom have not yet been leaked. At least one Athletic Director has publicly campaigned for WCC commissioner Jaime Zaninovich, while former "old" Big East associate commissioner and current NCAA Tournament chief, Dan Gavitt is also believed to be a finalist for the job.

The conference needs a highly capable leader who can help accelerate the completion of that checklist, which will include finding a new conference office (likely New York, with Washington DC and other major cities in the footprint possible), hiring conference staff, and getting agreements in place regarding which sports the league will sponsor and where it will host events. Scheduling for the fall seasons will also be a major priority.

With further expansion of the conference still on the table (though not agreed upon at this time) having a strong leader with good business sense and negotiating skills will be helpful going forward. A commissioner can act as a front-man for the league, handling the day-to-day and taking most responsibilities off of the league presidents' plates.