- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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The Big East conference named former Connecticut athletic director Jeff Hathaway as a consultant to commissioner John Marinatto Monday -- a must if Hathaway was going to keep his job as the chair of the men's basketball tournament selection committee.
Two weeks ago the NCAA administrative cabinet rejected a waiver proposed on Aug. 30 by outgoing chair Gene Smith, the athletic director of Ohio State, to allow Hathaway to become the chair even though he was no longer employed by a Division I school.
Hathaway was forced into retirement by UConn earlier this past summer.
According to the NCAA, the Big East had to hire Hathaway as a consultant, or in some role if he was going to keep his position in his final year as a member of the selection committee.
NCAA executive vice president Greg Shaheen said the Big East had to decide on Hathaway's fate before the NCAA could make a move. The Big East's decision allows for Hathaway to keep his job, which he assumed on on Sept. 1.
The move by the Big East avoids an embarrassing situation for the NCAA selection committee, which already has to replace one member of the 10-person group in former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, who has two years remaining on his four-year term.
Beebe told ESPN.com that he won't return to the committee and the NCAA is seeking a replacement. His replacement has to come from either the Big 12, Big Ten, MAC or Sun Belt because there is already a member from the SEC (LSU AD Joe Alleva) and ACC (Wake Forest AD Ron Wellman).
The 10-person committee has to have a six-four split of FBS and FCS schools. The other six members of the committee are UT San Antonio AD Lynn Hickey, Big Sky commissioner Doug Fullerton, WCC commissioner Jamie Zaninovich, Xavier AD Mike Bobinsky (the 2013 chair), SMU AD Steve Orsini and Utah State AD Scott Barnes.
The Big 12, Big Ten, MAC or Sun Belt will have to nominate someone to replace Beebe. The committee's first meeting is next month.
The question that still needs to be answered is whether Hathaway now has to leave the room on selection week to discuss all of the Big East teams as a consultant to the commissioner. The previous four years he only had to be out of the room when his own school, UConn, was discussed.
Senior writer Andy Katz covers men's college basketball for ESPN.com.
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