From Comcast SportsNetSTORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Big East Commissioner John Marinatto, facing pressure from school presidents upset by his handling of the departure of several high-profile programs, resigned Monday after less three years on the job.Pittsburgh and Syracuse made plans to leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference in September, and West Virginia bolted for the Big 12 the following month. The Big East regrouped by adding Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU and Temple for all sports and Boise State, San Diego State and Navy for football only."Our recent expansion efforts have stabilized the conference for the long term, and we are likewise well positioned for our very important upcoming television negotiations," Marinatto said in a statement from the conference. "As a result, I felt this was the right time to step aside and to let someone else lead us through the next chapter of our evolution."Marinatto became the third commissioner of the Big East on July 1, 2009. He had served as the conference's senior associate commissioner since 2002 and spent 14 years as the athletic director at Providence College."John helped build the Big East into what it is today, and played a critical role in our successful expansion efforts, and for all of that we thank him," said Judy Genshaft, President of the University of South Florida and the chair of the conference.But privately, many in the conference were unhappy by the defections of Pitt and Syracuse, and some blamed Marinatto for being caught off guard.Former Commissioner Mike Tranghese, who retired in 2008, said his successor "inherited a very, very difficult situation.""I said that when I left that's one of the reasons why I did leave," he told The Associated Press on Monday. "The conference was susceptible to be raided.""When something goes wrong, the person in that chair is the one to take the hit."Connecticut President Susan Herbst was asked if the league's presidents had sought Marinatto's resignation."It was entirely John's decision," she said in an email to The Associated Press. "Let me add: He did a stellar job this past year, enabling the Big East to move forward. We are strong now, thanks to his efforts and tireless work in a very fluid environment."The news caught some Big East schools off guard."You're never surprised in our business about things, but I would be less than honest to say I saw this coming," said Bill Bradshaw, Temple's athletic director. "Yes, in our business you're never surprised. But John's a first-class individual, straightforward. A good man. High integrity. A nice person. Whenever someone resigns, it's something you reflect."Connecticut Athletic Director Warde Manuel said the move will not affect his school's affiliation with the Big East."Our relationship is with the conference, and we'll look forward to working with the leadership in the conference to move forward," Manuel said.Connecticut provided Marinatto with some of the conference's biggest moments during his tenure, winning national championships in men's basketball in 2011 and in women's basketball in 2009 and 2010.But UConn had been actively exploring the possibility of joining the Atlantic Coast Conference or another conference after the moves by Syracuse and Pittsburgh.Manuel said Monday that UConn has no current plans to leave."I'm happy in the Big East," he said. "That's where we're going to stay and compete and do what we do."Other schools, including Providence, Marquette, and even Syracuse issued statements wishing Marinatto well."We know he tried his best and worked relentlessly," Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross said. "We wish him the best."Former Miami Dolphins CEO Joseph Bailey III will serve as interim commissioner. The search for a permanent replacement will be chaired Gregory Williams, the president of the University of Cincinnati and a member of the Big East executive committee."I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish and would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank both our membership and my staff for their unwavering encouragement, support and loyalty -- especially during this past year," he said. "I am extremely confident about the future of this league that I love very much."The conference also announced that as part of an effort to maximize its media rights and branding, it had retained The Boston Consulting Group to review its organizational design and structure.The league is facing a critical juncture, with questions remaining about football and basketball television revenue and talks continuing over the future of the BCS and a football playoff system."At some point, we want to have a stable environment over conference affiliation and allignment," Manuel said. "The bottom line, is that we need to get to a place where everything is stable."
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering what a crap shot this Presidential debate is going to be on Monday night.
*Brett Connolly has hooked on with the Washington Capitals, and the Caps hope they’ve found a “gem” in the former Bruins winger.
*John Tortorella is putting his Blue Jackets through an absolute boot camp thus far in Columbus. Bold strategy…I wonder how this will play out.
*The Pittsburgh Penguins appreciate the gifts of defenseman Kris Letang, even if Team Canada didn’t for the World Cup.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ken Wiebe has the details on Jacob Trouba asking to get moved from the Winnipeg Jets.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has Saturday night’s World Cup of Hockey showdown between Russia and Canada as another chapter in the Alex Ovechkin/Sidney Crosby rivalry.
*It’s sad to see respected veteran player Clarke MacArthur have to be helped off the ice after a vicious hit in a training camp scrimmage. What a dumb move by a guy that’s never going to crack the Senators roster.
*For something completely different: a good father/son piece on learning to appreciate things that your kids are interested in, and how rewarding it can be in the end.
Like the rest of the baseball world, the Red Sox expressed shock and sadness over the tragic death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident in Miami.
David Ortiz tweeted his thoughts before the game Sunday in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox played the Tampa Bay Rays.
I dont have the words to describe the pain feel for the loss of my friend Jose. Goodbye, my friend. pic.twitter.com/xvaa5z62RW— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) September 25, 2016
There was a moment of silence for Fernandez - who attended high school in the Tampa area after defecting from Cuba at 15 - before the game at Tropicana Field, and before all major league games on Sunday.
There was to be on-field ceremony for Ortiz before his last game at the Trop, part of his retirement farewell tour, but it was canceled at Ortiz's request. A video tribute to Ortiz was shown during the game and the Rays gave Ortiz his retirement gifts privately.
Ortiz wiped away tears during the moment of silence. He wrote Fernandez's intitals and his uniform number 16 on his cap.
Fernandez had joked about how he wanted to give up a home run to Ortiz when he faced him as an N.L. pitcher in the All-Star Game this past July.
"I told him yesterday that I am going to throw him three fastballs down the middle. I want to watch him hit a home run," Fernandez had said.
Ortiz ended up walking against Fernandez, prompting this response from Big Papi:
First baseman Hanley Ramirez, who played for the Marlins, as well as other Red Sox players, also tweeted their reactions after hearing the news of Fernandez's death Sunday morning.
My heart is with Jose's and the other victims' families, and my cherished Marlins family. My deepest condolences. This is heartbreaking— Hanley Ramirez (@HanleyRamirez) September 25, 2016
wow very sad new this morning...hands down one of my favorite guys to watch pitch! He brought nothing but intensity and passion #ripjose— David Price (@DAVIDprice24) September 25, 2016
Woke up to terrible news! Our baseball community has been hit hard from the loss of Jose. May God bless his family 🙏🏾#LongLiveJose— Mookie Betts (@mookiebetts) September 25, 2016
Heartbroken, speechless. #RIPJoseFernandez— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) September 25, 2016
May God strengthen the Fernandez Family
Increíble. Indescriptible. Dios fortalezca la Flia Fdez