Notre Dame sports: Swarbrick says Aresco is good for Big East
The Notre Dame athletic director covets the future with Aresco even more.
"For a conference that's sort of been buffeted a bit, Mike is going to be very deliberate and very thoughtful," Swarbrick told the South Bend Tribune Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the Big East splashed back at the college sports world that had been bullying it for the better part of the past three years.
"Things with Mike will happen on pace, so he represents stability. He's a great pick."
Some would push the superlatives even further -- that the 62-year-old departing CBS programming vice president offers real hope to a league that splintered and sputtered, then pushed out former commissioner John Marinatto in the spring after just three years on the job.
Joe Bailey has been interim commissioner since May, essentially keeping the seat warm rather than trying to forge new policy.
As CBSSports.com national college writer Dennis Dodd points out, Aresco is the only FBS commissioner who comes from strictly a TV background. And the Big East's upcoming television rights negotiations either will constitute the conference's next giant step toward being reborn or, now much less likely, another stride toward oblivion.
"It would be hard to overstate it," Aresco told the Associated Press of the importance of the next TV contract. "I consider it job one. All eyes are going to be on it. I'm not making any predictions, but I'm very confident our value is going to be recognized and maximized."
ESPN has an exclusive 60-day negotiating window beginning on Sept. 1, but Dodd points out that NBC may eventually wrestle the Big East away to pair with its Notre Dame sports programming if negotiations hit the open market.
"He has substantive expertise in an area that's critical to the conference's future," Swarbrick said of Aresco. "He knows all of the players in the broadcast industry. He knows the market dynamics. He's been involved in major deals. So I think that's really good for the conference."
And, indirectly, that's really good for Notre Dame.
A stable, financially viable Big East is one of the three major factors that make football conference membership for ND an option it may never exercise rather than an ultimatum it must seriously consider.
The other two are unimpeded access to college football top tier of playoffs/bowls and maintaining is own television contract (since 1991 with NBC).
ND's men's and women's basketball teams and most of its Olympic sports are members of the Big East. And if the league imploded, the Irish would have to find a new home for those teams, one which might not be so willing to take the Irish without football and/or is less geographically desirable.
It can be argued that a good working relationship with Notre Dame, in turn, boosts the health of the Big East.
"I haven't specifically talked to Mike about how Notre Dame fits," Swarbrick said. "But I know Mike's values, and I think he'll represent those things effectively. He very much values college athletics and the educational side of it.
"I think he'll treat all members of the conference equally, but I think he'll have good feelings about our university. And on a more personal level, he and I go back a long time."
Swarbrick said the two worked together on several basketball-related issues and their relationship goes back 15 years. That's roughly the time Aresco moved into the power broker position at CBS Sports that he is now leaving.
The bold-faced line on his résumé is the 14-year, $11 billion deal he negotiated for CBS Sports and Turner Sports for exclusive rights to the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
"I think Mike's style will be really helpful to the conference," Swarbrick said. "I'm glad that the conference chose somebody that I do know and have a working relationship with."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Staff writer Eric Hansen: