UC's Williams on what's next for Big East

May, 7, 2012
5/07/12
4:38
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Cincinnati president Gregory H. Williams is in charge of the search committee for the next Big East commissioner. So what is the league looking for in its next leader?

I had a chance to briefly catch up with Williams in a phone conversation this afternoon.

"We want someone that can take the Big East to the next level," he said. "We're excited about where we are right now. We feel the conference is stronger than it's ever been. We have some great new teams we are bringing in, there's a huge opportunity for us to build, so we're looking for someone who can facilitate that and make that happen."

Along those lines, what are the biggest priorities for Big East moving forward?

"There are a lot of priorities; TV negotiations are one of them," he said. "What happens in regards to the BCS is another issue, and we are making a transition for some teams to come in and we're working through that. That's going to be an issue as well. There's a whole range of issues the person has to be conversive with and provide the type of leadership we need."

When I tried to ask Williams more probing questions, he declined to answer. I specifically asked why the presidents asked Marinatto to resign. Williams referred me to the statement from the Big East. "John decided to leave the Big East and we wish him well," Williams said. "He did a fantastic job, but now all of us are moving on in different directions."

When I asked about the different interests among the football and basketball schools, Williams said, "I don't think there's any dissension between the football and basketball schools. In my involvement at the meetings, everyone works together, everyone tries to figure out what's in the best interest of the Big East. The basketball schools have been very supportive of the issues that have been faced."

Then I asked whether Marinatto deserved the blame for what happened to the league in the past year. Williams said I was getting off topic, and referred me again to the Big East statement.

As for a timetable for hiring a new commissioner, Williams said the sooner the better. It is critical to have somebody in place before the start of television negotiations in September.

"It's more important we get the right person than we do it quickly," he said. "The critical factor is making sure we have the right person."

Williams has been president of Cincinnati since 2009 and is a member of the Big East executive committee.

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