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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Marinatto: Irish endorse Big East's plans

By Matt Fortuna

In announcing his conference's decision to double its exit fee to $10 million and move toward a 12-football team model, Big East commissioner John Marinatto credited Notre Dame for its role in helping keep the conference together.

Though football independence remains a priority for Notre Dame, 18 of its other sports compete in the Big East, including the school's men's and women's basketball teams.

Marinatto cited Rev. John Jenkins, the school's president, for helping the conference weather the realignment storm that has seen Pitt and Syracuse leave for the ACC and create a cloud of uncertainty.

"Father Jenkins is part of our board," Marinatto said on a conference call. "I can’t tell you how hard he’s worked in the last 21 months, been with me 24-7, he's been with me during the two most challenging years this conference has gone through given the realignment climate.

"Notre Dame has worked side by side with our 13 other schools as we try to figure our way out of this. Notre Dame is committed, if not more committed to this conference than any other member because they view it as a very positive place to house all their other sports and are committed to moving forward with us. They like the model and they’re excited about it as we move forward."