Big 12: John Marinatto

Where does the Big 12 commish rank?

May, 24, 2012
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Earlier today, we looked at the pay for athletic directors around the league, but what about the men up top?

USA Today researched and released the pay for each conference commissioner, and former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe earned $1.7 million in 2010 after receiving a 70 percent raise.

He was relieved of his duties in fall 2011.

Here's how he ranked among his peers:
  • Larry Scott, Pac-12: $1.9 million
  • Jim Delany, Big Ten: $1.8 million
  • Beebe: $1.7 million
  • John Swofford, ACC: $1.5 million
  • Mike Slive, SEC: $1 million
  • John Marinatto, Big East: $600,000

The Big 12 has since moved on from Beebe, and no salary information was available for interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

In USA Today's survey of athletic director salaries, new commissioner Bob Bowlsby's salary was unavailable, because Stanford is a private institution.

Either way, I'd expect the first-time commissioner to easily clear a seven-digit salary in his new gig.

For reference, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds made just under 1.1 million last year. Not exactly helping that whole "Texas runs the Big 12" perception if he makes more than the Big 12 commish, no?

Breaking down WVU, Big East settlement

February, 15, 2012
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The Big East and West Virginia announced a settlement Tuesday that ends ongoing litigation between the parties in both Rhode Island and West Virginia. Citing an anonymous source, the Charleston Daily Mail has reported that West Virginia will pay the Big East a $20 million buyout as part of the settlement, with $10 million covered by the university and another $10 million coming from the Big 12, half of which WVU will have to repay.

How did the parties finally reach an agreement?

An attorney for WVU, Thomas Holt, a partner at K&L Gates, says the Big East out-argued itself.

“WVU was entitled to sovereign immunity in its own courts. What happened in the Rhode Island case was the Big East argued to the judge that they didn’t think they could get fair shake in the courts in West Virginia. Basically, they didn’t think they could get injunction there.”

Holt believes the Big East realized the Rhode Island court wasn’t going to issue an injunction the West Virginia courts might not enforce. “It was fundamentally illogical. Once the reality of that became apparent things moved forward.”

Big East attorney Ben Block, a partner at Covington & Burling, declined to comment specifically on the details of the negotiations, but clearly didn’t agree with Holt’s version of events. “I don’t think I share Tom Holt’s views on the merits of the case."

“We had a very strong case, but at the end of the day parties reach resolution when each one decides that the negotiated resolution on the table is more attractive than the uncertainty, cost and continuing distraction of ongoing litigation,” said Block.

So, what exactly does the settlement mean to the ongoing business of the Big East?

"The bylaws are the foundation of how the conference governs itself," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said Tuesday. "To have the court in West Virginia acknowledge their validity of enforceability obviously reinforces the premise that the conference is viable moving forward, and in a position to do so."

Marinatto’s comment is a bit misleading, however. The West Virginia court only recognized the validity of the bylaws as part of the consent decree it issued as a result of the parties’ settlement. This is not a binding legal decision declaring every provision of the Big East bylaws as valid and enforceable against remaining members.

“In theory it looks good, and I’m sure they would use it for precedential value to show, ‘Look, one other court has already said this,’ but a court in New York or Pennsylvania might see it differently,” said Christian Dennie, a sports law attorney at Barlow Garsek & Simon.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse are subject to the same 27-month waiting period West Virginia just fought and settled over before they can join the ACC. However, Marinatto said in a telephone conference today, “[G]iven the strength and speed of our expansion efforts, I think our board might be open to a discussion about 2013."

Kristi Dosh covers sports business for ESPN.com and can be reached at kristi@kristidosh.com. Follow Dosh on Twitter: @SportsBizMiss.

Big 12 officially adds West Virginia

October, 28, 2011
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The Big 12 has made its next move in expansion official.

West Virginia is joining the Big 12.
The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors have voted unanimously to accept West Virginia University as a full conference member effective July 1, 2012. The Mountaineers will begin competing in the Big 12 beginning with the 2012-13 athletic season.

The entry date for the Mountaineers should be interesting. Big East bylaws require a 27-month notice before members can leave the league, but it's clear that West Virginia and the Big 12 have no intention of adhering to that portion of the bylaws.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto released a statement on Friday acknowledging the Mountaineers' withdrawal from the conference, and made his own intentions clear.
"West Virginia is fully aware that the Big East Conference is committed to enforcing the 27-month notification period for members who choose to leave the conference," the release stated.

Should be an interesting couple of weeks to follow.

"We are excited to add West Virginia to our exceptional lineup of conference members," Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said. "They bring an excellent overall athletic program to the Big 12 and allow the league to expand into an area that boasts a passionate group of fans and alumni throughout its region."

Here's the full release from the Big 12, complete with more information about West Virginia.

Lunch links: Bob Stoops' quiet mission

October, 19, 2011
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Six years later, Apologies to the Queen Mary might be getting even more amazing.

A look at Dan Beebe's recent pay raise

June, 21, 2011
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A pay raise from 2008 to 2009 pushed Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe's salary to just under $1 million, according to tax records acquired by the Associated Press.

Beebe was paid $661,000 in 2008, but received a raise to $997,000 for 2009.

Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda told the Associated Press that the raise was given by the conference's board of directors to put him on par with the rest of the BCS automatic qualifying leagues.

Here's what college football's other major conference commissioners made in 2009:
  • Jim Delany, Big Ten: $1.6 million
  • John Swofford, ACC, $1.1 million
  • Mike Slive, SEC, $1 million
  • Dan Beebe, Big 12, $997,000

The other two major conference commissioners were hired after the first half of 2009, but here's what they were paid for six months of compensation:
  • Larry Scott, Pac-10/12, $735,000
  • John Marinatto, Big East, $366,000

According to the outlet, "Those figures include base salary and benefits such as health insurance, as well as other forms of pay such as retirement and deferred compensation."

College football's other five leagues that don't receive automatic BCS bids all paid their commissioners less than $600,000.

Gator Bowl opening could loom for Big 12

August, 4, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Big East's hard-line pronouncement about its availability for the Gator Bowl might add another potential suitor into the Big 12's upcoming bowl mix.

New Big East commissioner John Marinatto told the Tampa Tribune that he is unwilling to continue the "shared-pick" arrangement that sends the Big East No. 2 team twice and the Big 12 No. 4 team twice in a four-year period to the Jacksonville-based bowl.

"It would be doubtful," Marinatto told the Tribune. "It's not what we want and not what we're going to try for. It's not on our agenda. We believe the Big East has earned that, we don't want the hybrid model.

"If we have to go somewhere else, so be it."

In the other two years of the shared pick, the No. 4 Big 12 team will go to the Alamo Bowl and the No. 5 Big 12 team will go to the Sun Bowl. That will be the case during this upcoming season.

New agreements will begin in 2010 and Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe has been working furiously over the last several weeks with various current partners and potential new bowls for destinations for his teams.

Big 12 teams have played in the Gator Bowl in two of the last three seasons, with Texas Tech meeting Virginia in the 2008 game and Nebraska and Clemson meeting in the 2009 game. The Big 12 has won both of those games.

Beebe said last week that the Gator Bowl has been a strong arrangement for the Big 12 for several reasons. First, it is a New Year's Day game that provides the strong kind of exposure that the conference craves. Secondly, it is based in Florida to give them a consistent recruiting presence in another part of the country.

But the Jacksonville trip is an expensive one for Big 12 fans -- particularly if they are forced to buy their airline tickets inside a 21-day window from the game.

The Big 12's current bowl arrangement provides its winner to the BCS and its No. 2 team to the Cotton Bowl. That long-term relationship is unlikely to change -- particularly as the Cotton Bowl moves to the Dallas Cowboys' plush new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

But after that, the Gator Bowl could get in the mix for a No. 3 team which is currently held by the Holiday Bowl. Bowl sources indicate the Alamo Bowl also is interested in that team and the Houston Bowl could be interested as well.

A more regionally based bowl such as the Alamo or Texas bowl might make more sense and prove more attractive to more Big 12 schools because of its proximity inside the conference's geographic footprint.

Even with a higher payout at another bowl in another part of the country, that number could be diminished if the Big 12 school wouldn't sell its quota of tickets. The conference's teams would be more likely to sell those tickets if they played in a bowl game where fans could drive.

But both bowls would struggle matching the sizzle of playing inside Florida -- particularly considering every Big 12 team normally plays at least one game inside the state of Texas as part of its regular-season schedule.

I expect a lot of posturing and positioning in the next several weeks. But however it plays out, the Big 12's stature among the bowls has never appeared stronger.

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