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Big East Commissioner search update: Jack Mula

The footballers are going to camps, the basketballers are training over the summer, the soccer players are busy with exhibitions.

But looming over the head of the actual athletics of the Big East's schools is the search for a Commissioner, a pilot who can hold disparate league interests together despite constant suspicion that realignment is coming to rend the league asunder once more. Oh, and and make some money rain on the member schools so they can compete with the best in the nation.

Who are the targets? Read on below the fold for names and a "source" who thinks the Big East will get more money than previously guessed.

The search has been shrouded in secrecy; it has been conducted by RSR Partners, the search firm where current interim commissioner Joe Bailey was a Managing Director.

CBS Sports learned that former New England Patriots General Counsel Jack Mula has interviewed with Russell Reynolds Associates. Mula has worked with NFL teams as a negotiator on player and business contracts, including the planning and development of the Patriots' Gillette Stadium complex. Jack Mula is currently with Cornerstone Sports Consulting, a group focused on career guidance for collegiate student athletes for high-talent Division-I schools.

Other names have been floated, including Nick Carparelli, Big East's senior associate commissioner for football and marketing and Associate Commissioner Tom Odjakjian, responsible for television and men's basketball scheduling.

The group of possible Commissioners is reportedly down to five.

For the Big East, months that will define the strength of the conference begin on September 1st. ESPN has 60 days to exclusively negotiate with the league on a new contract. After that, the Big East can open up bidding. Much like with recruiting, the legal dates won't hinder interested parties from putting out feelers - that talkative man or woman we call "Sources" often serves as a go-between.

The search for a Big East Commissioner is shrouded in secrecy, and so is the yearly range of a possible contract for all sports. CBS' reporting mentioned numbers as low as $50 million a year; the NY Daily News' Dick Weiss has a Source that thinks NBC could bid as high as $210 million per year.

Which outlet's Sources are right? We'll find out by the end of the calendar year.

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