Paul Tagliabue

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue To Advise BIG EAST Conference On Strategic Planning

April 21, 2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Paul Tagliabue, the Commissioner of the NFL from 1989 until 2006, will serve as a Special Advisor to the BIG EAST Conference to provide strategic advice on future television arrangements and other priority matters, BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto announced. Tagliabue, who currently chairs the Board of Directors of BIG EAST member Georgetown University, will serve the BIG EAST on a volunteer basis.

“Few individuals have had as broad and deep experiences in sports as Paul Tagliabue,” stated Commissioner Marinatto. “Paul’s understanding of collegiate athletics and academics and his extensive experience and leadership of the NFL for 17 years will certainly be invaluable to the BIG EAST Conference and its 16 member institutions.”

The BIG EAST’s strategic planning will assess the Conference’s collective strengths and opportunities, as well as the evolving landscape of broadcast television, cable and other subscriber-supported networks – national, regional or conference-based — and other new media opportunities.

Tagliabue served with distinction as NFL Commissioner and presided over an extended period of labor peace, industry-leading television and new media arrangements, league expansion and revenue growth in professional football. For his leadership in sports, Tagliabue has been recognized by the NCAA and the American Football Coaches Association as well as by many youth football and sports organizations. Before becoming the NFL’s CEO, Tagliabue served as counsel to the NFL, professional soccer and tennis, and other clients for two decades, and he recently chaired an independent committee that reported on the governance of the United States Olympic Committee.

Tagliabue is a 1962 graduate of Georgetown. He was a standout basketball player for the Hoyas and served as the team’s captain during his senior season.

For the BIG EAST, the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year will be the fourth of six-year television agreements with ESPN and CBS Sports and the fourth of a six-year agreement with marketing rights holder ISP Sports. These agreements were signed just one year after the league reconfigured and expanded its membership to 16 teams.

“When we expanded our membership to 16 schools in 2005-06, it also enhanced our media markets to represent approximately 25 percent of the country, thereby creating the groundwork for significant long-term revenue growth and security for our membership,” added Marinatto. “Now going into our sixth year under this configuration, we will strategically re-evaluate ways to build upon that foundation.”

Since the reconfiguration, the BIG EAST Conference has had unparalleled success in the sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball.


  • The BIG EAST Conference has a 154-59 (.723) record since 2005 – its best five-year stretch against nonconference opponents in league history.
  • The BIG EAST Conference has a 16-6 (.737) record in postseason bowl games since 2006.
  • The BIG EAST had 27 players chosen in the 2009 NFL Draft. This was the highest per team average of any conference in the country. All eight teams in the conference had at least one player chosen in the first four rounds of the draft.

Men’s Basketball:

  • The BIG EAST Conference has earned 37 NCAA men’s championship bids in the last five years – almost 20 percent more than any other conference in the country.
  • Four different BIG EAST Conference member schools have reached the NCAA Final Four since 2005.

Women’s Basketball:

  • The BIG EAST Conference has had an average of 12 member schools participate in postseason play since 2006 – more than any other conference.
  • The BIG EAST Conference has earned 37 NCAA women’s championship bids since 2005 – more than any other conference in the country.
  • In this timeframe, five BIG EAST Conference teams have advanced to the NCAA Final Four with two winning the national championship. In addition, two teams have earned WNIT Championships.