|ESPN.com: Men's College Basketball||[Print without images]|
The NCAA men's basketball championship is faced with an unprecedented situation after the incoming chair of the selection committee resigned under pressure Friday as athletic director at Connecticut.
Jeff Hathaway, who was being reviewed by new UConn president Susan Herbst, reached a settlement agreement and announced his retirement Friday. He was to conclude the fourth year of a five-year term on the selection committee and take over for outgoing chair Gene Smith, the athletic director at Ohio State, in September.
But late Friday, the NCAA issued a statement saying Hathaway had informed them he had retired from his UConn position.
The statement said Hathaway, Greg Shaheen, the NCAA vice president who runs the men's basketball championship and the NCAA men's basketball staff would meet about how to handle the remainder of Hathaway's term, including his time as chair in 2012.
On Aug. 8, Hathaway was at the Jim Calhoun celebrity charity golf tournament in Avon, Conn., and told ESPN.com he was planning on being the chair for 2011-12. He went as far as to say that he had mapped out potential games to visit in November. Even though he knew his job was in jeopardy, he was adamant about remaining as chair. Late Friday, he referred all questions to the statement issued by the NCAA.
Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski was named the chair of the 2013 NCAA tournament and said late Friday there are a number of options available to the committee. One of them could be to bump up Bobinski's chair to 2012. Each of the 10 members of the committee have five-year terms.
The Big East doesn't control Hathaway's spot on the committee and there have been years where the Big East didn't have a representative. Instead the 10-member committee has to have a six-four split, with six of the members from the football bowl subdivision and the other four from the football championship subdivision.
That means a school like Big East member Georgetown, which doesn't play Division I football, couldn't replace UConn on the committee since that would alter the balance for 2011-12. Committee members have been conference commissioners or athletic directors. ADs must recuse themselves from discussions during selection week on their own teams, while conference commissioners cannot be in the room while teams from their respective conferences are being discussed.
The breakdown for the 2012 tournament committee is: Hathaway, Bobinski, Ron Wellman (Wake Forest AD), Scott Barnes (Utah State AD), Dan Beebe (Big 12 commissioner), Steve Orsini (SMU AD), Joe Alleva (LSU AD), Lynn Hickey (Texas-San Antonio AD), Doug Fullerton (Big Sky commissioner) and Jamie Zaninovich (WCC commissioner).
One Big East source told ESPN.com that having Hathaway on the committee would be the preferred outcome for the Big East Conference. Hathaway remains well-respected at the Big East office in Providence, R.I.
If the Big East had to replace Hathaway, a potential representative would be Doug Woolard, the South Florida athletic director who has a basketball background.
The 2012 Final Four is at the New Orleans' Superdome for the first time since 2003 and seven years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.
Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com.