Here's a follow-up to Tom Luicci's report over the weekend about the search for the next Big East commissioner. The news that Tim Pernetti was a candidate was a surprising development, and understandably the focus of the story given the obvious Rutgers angle. However, the most interesting aspect to me of the story was the news that Kevin Weiberg is a candidate. If the Big East decides to bring in an outsider, he is by far the most obvious and credible candidate based on his experience with the Big XII.
I asked an Oklahoma fan, who I've talked to before and whose opinion I respect, about Weiberg's tenure at the helm of the Big XII. The following opinion represents his views, and is not necessarily the opinion of this particular blog. Note: I did not ask to publish these comments until after I read them, they initially came from informal conversation and should be read as such.
No one was sad to see KW go. The biggest issue he seemed to concern himself with was equal revenue sharing - an issue that he would never be successful with because for a change to be made he would need 9 out of 12 schools deciding to make a switch. So this would never happen since OU, Texas, Nebraska, A&M would always veto it down.
It's also a matter of a few million dollars being doled out to each school that was the breaking point for KW. 2% of a 40-million dollar budget was what caused him to pack up his ball and leave. The current format splits half the TV money evenly - the other half is given away to schools based on the number of appearances. So Texas Tech would make the same amount of money as Colorado would on their OOC TV scheduling although Texas Tech was playing local area high school teams and CU was filling up on other BCS teams. Yet KW was a big proponent of conference teams playing more challenging OOC matchups and to get away from the TTU OOC scheduling method. Just seems a bit counterproductive in that regard.
He gets a lot of credit for the revenue doubling under his tenure but he had nothing to do with OU and UT hiring Mack Brown and Bob Stoops. He was a major wuss (note: language altered) and would always side with the officials and didn't like to cause a controversy at the national level. For instance, not a word was heard from him after the OU/Oregon debacle, he let OU handle that all on its own. Not like he could have made a difference, but he should have his own conference members best interests first and not his PR status.
The only good thing I can say about him is he was the one that made the current ESPN/ABC football lineup. But even then, I think it was our new commish that has gotten many teams on midweek nationally televised game.
Maybe within a conference that isn't as divided between the haves and the have nots he might be able to reach a consensus better and work towards building something. He just sat by and collected his $700,000 paycheck and didn't seem to do anything. I also would have liked to see him work towards making the Cotton Bowl a BCS bowl, better basketball TV contract or to see his idea of better OOC matchups implemented. In any event, I was glad to see a change and have higher hopes for Beebe than I did for KW at the end of his tenure.
By Beebe he is referring to the current Big XII commissioner.
A lot of this meshes with the published reports about inter-conference conflict in the Big XII between the haves and have-nots. Could Kevin Weiberg be an effective Big East commissioner? Your guess is as good as mine. I still look favorably on the fact that he does have experience at the helm of a major conference, one which has seen success in every sport. I'm not particularly wedded to any candidate, but what the Big East does explicitly need is a commissioner who is not going to be a lackey of the basketball-only schools. I want someone who has a resume that doesn't include the words "Providence College".
One other thought though: is it just natural that every fan is not going to be content with the status quo? For instance, I always hear fans of teams from other conferences praising the relative quality of Big East officiating. That's because they don't watch any Big East games! They were the ones blowing every call in Notre Dame's matchup with North Carolina. Perhaps the power and effectiveness of an executive is overstated, and Big East fans would be disappointed in anyone in the commissioner's office. This is true to an extent, but I will never be satisfied until Big East football is being directed by someone with the interests of football schools at heart.