Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Big East commissioner ready for the challenge

Mike Aresco, the new commissioner of the Big East Conference, chose his words carefully and avoid answering most of the questions dealing with the upcoming television rights negotiations but he vowed that the Big East's future is bright and he proclaimed during a Wednesday morning press conference at the New York Athletic Club that one of his goals is to make the teams leaving the Big East regret their decision.

Aresco, a Middletown native and the Vice President of Programming for CBS Sports, knows he has his work cut out for him. West Virginia left after last season for the Big 12 while Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013. Aresco, who was unanimously approved for the role of commissioner in a unanimous vote of the conference's presidents, said "I think all of this is going to work and it is my job to make it work."

"This conference has the schools and it has ability to be a force on the national stage on the court and on the field and that is what it is going to come down to." Aresco does not start until September 1 which is also the day that the Big East can begin negotiating rights for a television package.

Aresco said he isn't planning on making changes in the Big East personnel and that meeting with all the conference's presidents and athletic directors is a priority.

"There are always things you can learn," Aresco said. "When I took the CBS job I had to learn things but I came up to speed quickly and think I have had a very successful tenure there. That is always the case with any new job and I am not concerned about that at all. I look forward to it, I really do because I have a deep interest in this. If I didn't I wouldn't have taken the job. "I think I am a quick study and I think I will get up to speed quickly. The thing to remember is although I have been in the media business for almost 30 years a good part of that has been involved in the college community. I have deep and long ties to the college community. I have always been interested in the issues of the college community. Fortunately I have outstanding relationships with lots of commissioners and athletic directors over the years. Obviously realignment has been a pressing issue so I think I have a perspective so that part doesn't concern me. I am really looking forward to rolling u my sleeves and learning about the issues. Also, I know what I don't know."

Aresco was joined at the press conference by University of Cincinnati president Greg Williams, the chairman of Big East's search committee. Williams believes that the conference could not have hired a better person for the job.

"There is nobody who really has more knowledge than he does or if they are, there are very few of them," Williams said. "The reputation he has, the respect that he generates around the country, he knows big-time college athletics. He is going to be a great leader for the Big East and we are truly excited to have him because of the respect and the ability that he brings to the job.

"This is very important. This is really a coup for the Big East to be able to bring in Mike Aresco, there is no question about that. Obviously there are other challenges that we face and we will face those challenges but with him as a leader we are very confident we are going to be able to face and overcome. They are a little less daunting. They are challenges but they are less daunting when you have somebody who is as well known and has the experience and expertise that he has. We feel like we are well positioned for whatever challenges may be presented in the future."

Here is the story I wrote off today's press conference


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