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Monday, May 23, 2011
Big East spring meetings update

By Andrea Adelson

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The Big East spring meetings have wrapped up for today and I will be providing a much more in-depth story in a bit. But first, I wanted to give you some bullet points from commissioner John Marinatto.

-- The hot topic is expansion, but there is no news on that front. Expansion was discussed, but that is about all Marinatto was willing to say about the current situation. Not much can be done here, anyway, because any decisions have to include the university presidents. About all we know is that the Big East needs to have its expansion plans in place before it begins negotiating its new media-rights contract. Villanova, of course, is in a holding pattern, but as a basketball member is at these meetings. I asked Marinatto how it was to have Villanova in the same room with members who are not so hot on its entry as a football program, and he discussed the longstanding relationship between the league and the school. "The relationship has overcome the adversity," he said.

-- Renegotiating the next media-rights deal dominated the conversation. After seeing what the Pac-12 and Big 12 received in recent months, Marinatto said the league felt optimistic about its future.

"There’s a distinct advantage in going last," Marinatto said. "With the marketplace continually resetting, we sat here 12 months ago and we were envious of what the ACC was able to do because we thought that reset the marketplace. We sit here 12 months later and in less than a year the Pac-12 has reset the marketplace once again. It’s setting the stage for us provided that we’re deliberate and aggressive in order to monetize our rights in a fashion that’s as similar to what they’ve done."

-- Marinatto said the topic of giving athletes more money to cover living expenses on top of their scholarships has yet to be addressed at the league meetings, and he has no position on it just yet. The idea became a hot topic of conversation last week when Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said league officials have discussed whether to give athletes more money based on their increasing TV dollars.