Friday, October 7, 2011

John Marinatto: Manchurian Candidate?

In case you've never read either the book, or seen either of the movies, a Manchurian Candidate is a person who has been brainwashed to act toward a particular interest. John Marinatto, commissioner of the Big East has shown an uttler lack of interest in doing anything proactive to further stabilize the conference since realignment related Armageddon began last spring. His only solution was to suggest Villanova join in several seasons and to add TCU in a couple years. Well, the Big XII was raided again and it destabilized, something that many people should have seen coming, and Syracuse and Pitt jumped at an invitation from the ACC, yet another predictable move given the frailty of the Big East conference.

Marinatto's actions lead me to wonder if he was looking after the best interests of the conference itself, or the school in the conference that he is most closely associated with: Providence. Marinatto is a Providence native, a Providence alum and was the athletic director there for 14 years. It's not very secret that Providence has an inordinate amount of influence in the conference offices, which are located in Providence. Since taking over the Big East in 2009, Marinatto has done exactly nothing to strengthen the conference which has me thinking that he has an ulterior motive: competitiveness for Providence basketball.

For a long time, Providence was a better basketball program than neighboring UConn, and until 1985, they were probably comparable to Villanova, but now they're Big East bottom feeders and nothing was going to change much until they got rid of a few schools on top of them. You have to imagine that the fans up in Providence aren't too happy with two NCAA Tournament appearances last decade and no sweet 16 appearances since 1997. With a few less automatic losses on their schedule, The Friars all the sudden look much more likely to be an at-large NCAA Tournament selection year after year. If you get rid of those pesky football schools and all their resources, it doesn't look as hard all sudden.

And there we have it, John Marinatto is a Manchurian Candidate.

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