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John Marinatto Steps Down As Big East Commissioner; Was He Forced Out?

Big East commissioner John Marinatto (credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Big East commissioner John Marinatto (credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The Big East will soon be saying goodbye to Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. And now they’ll be without John Marinatto as commissioner.

The Big East announced on Monday that Marinatto has stepped down after less than three years on the job.

The move was first reported by CBSSports.com.

Marinatto may have been forced into the decision. CBSSports.com reported he “was asked to resign by the league’s presidents Sunday.”

Pittsburgh and Syracuse made plans to leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference on Marinatto’s watch in September, and WVU bolted for the Big 12 the following month. TCU then opted not to join the conference as planned.

The Big East regrouped by adding Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU and Temple for all sports and Boise State, San Diego State and Navy for football only.

“Our recent expansion efforts have stabilized the conference for the long term, and we are likewise well positioned for our very important upcoming television negotiations,” Marinatto said in a statement from the conference. “As a result, I felt this was the right time to step aside and to let someone else lead us through the next chapter of our evolution.”

Former Miami Dolphins CEO Joseph Bailey III will serve as interim commissioner. The search for a permanent replacement will be chaired Gregory Williams, the president of the University of Cincinnati and a member of the Big East executive committee.

Marinatto became the third commissioner of the Big East on July 1, 2009. He had served as the conference’s senior associate commissioner since 2002 and spent 14 years as the athletic director at Providence College.

“I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish and would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank both our membership and my staff for their unwavering encouragement, support and loyalty — especially during this past year,” he said. “I am extremely confident about the future of this league that I love very much.”

The conference also announced it had retained The Boston Consulting Group to review its organizational design and structure.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)