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Marinatto: Time to think outside the box

4/22/2010

The hiring of former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue as a special adviser is the first step for the Big East to start thinking about new possibilities, league commissioner John Marinatto told Mark Blaudschun of The Boston Globe.

Marinatto, speaking from the BCS meetings in Arizona where Big Ten expansion has been a red-hot topic, said it's even possible the Big East could grow past its 16-team alignment in basketball.

“Who is to say we couldn’t go to 20 teams in basketball, but not have one 20-team league, but a league with pods of four or five teams?’’ said Marinatto. “You have to think strategic alliances -- what strategic alliances could we create?

“Why couldn’t we do something with Notre Dame in football, where they aren’t a member but they schedule groups of teams in our conference [which is already being done]? Why couldn’t we do more with television, and have a Big East television network [similar to the Big Ten’s highly successful operation]?

“We need a new way of thinking. Strategic thinking. We need to be proactive rather than reactive, and develop our assets. Paul’s theory is, ‘Think long-term, think over the horizon.’ ‘Out-of-the-box thinking,’ [Big Ten commissioner] Jim [Delany] is always saying to me, ‘You have to think differently.’"

Blaudschun speculated that the Big East could go after Maryland and try to lure back Boston College, as well as adding Central Florida. The league would still need to come up with some sort of incentive for the ACC schools to defect, and perhaps an SEC raid of the ACC would do the trick.

Anyway, it's good to see that the Big East and Marinatto are trying to come up with ways to be proactive before Big Ten expansion creates their doomsday scenario.