The Big East just wrapped up a media conference call with interim commissioner Joe Bailey. He has been on the job for only three days so he did not have answers to several questions, but did his best to explain his role and gave specific thoughts to where the league stands.
Before I get into some of the highlights, Bailey did mention he has no interest in becoming the commissioner. "I am too senior, and it's my feeling that the leader of the conference should be the leader for a long period of time; and therefore, has a long runway on which to build the conference and be a part of the fabric of the conference. So I would not be a good candidate for that reason," he said.
Here are a few notes from the call:
On upcoming TV negotiations. Bailey says he will not have a role in the negotiations themselves. A consultant has been hired to evaluate how the league can maximize its opportunities and will report to the executive committee, which will keep Bailey informed. Bailey anticipates a "number of interested parties" will want to discuss TV rights with the league.
He was specifically asked about the new media rights agreement between ESPN and the ACC, and whether that will impact Big East expectations on how much the league can get in the open market. "I can’t tell you what the expectation market is," Bailey said. "I think the reality of it is that media rights are increasing, and where it ends up, really I don't think anybody really knows for sure. But of course the people that will be negotiating the deal on behalf of the Big East ultimately will have that responsibility. And any kind of deal has got to be fair for both sides."
Having had roles at two NFL teams -- Miami and Dallas -- and also serving as a consultant, Bailey was asked why the market for sporting events is in such hot demand. "There is a market demand for what I would term authentic content. That’s sort of the difference between entertainment and sports. Sports are authentic. No one really knows what the outcome is going to be. It’s also the reason why sport on a global basis and the rights fees for all different kinds of sports, why they’re all in demand in terms of the media. So I think on balance that is a good thing as far as the Big East is concerned."
Boise State and San Diego State. Bailey said he has been given no indication that either school will back out of its commitment to join the Big East as football-only members in 2013. He also said Boise State has not asked for help in placing its other sports programs, in the event the WAC collapses.
Football/basketball split. Bailey made sure to say several times that every institution in the Big East is working together toward the same goal. "The reality of the situation is that there has been no indication from anybody that I have talked to, and again I haven’t talked to everybody, there was any kind of even close to this idea of any kind of split," he said.
Pitt and Syracuse. Though former commissioner John Marinatto had indicated that Pitt and Syracuse may be able to leave for the ACC for the 2013 season, Bailey did not want to speculate on where that discussion stands.
BCS negotiations. When asked specifically what his role would be in helping the Big East maintain its current BCS revenue share in the next cycle, Bailey said, "Although I haven’t had specific discussions about that, obviously the Big East is awfully proud of being a founding member of the BCS and will not lose its influence in those decisions," he said. "We’ve got a meeting coming up in a couple weeks and a lot of those things are going to be discussed then. But there’s no question the Big East is going to be an integral part of whatever the decision will be moving forward."
As a follow-up, he was asked specifically how the Big East could maintain its place among the elite conferences. "Unless I’m mistaken, everybody’s got a vote and the Big East’s vote is like any other member’s vote," he said. "You’ve got to be at the table. The Big East is at the table."
Timetable for new commissioner. Bailey believes the new commissioner will be in place in three-to-four months, just in time for television negotiations to begin in September.