Livengood staying at UNLV as Big East names CBS exec commissioner

The Big East Conference named CBS executive vice president Mike Aresco as its commissioner Tuesday, officially ending any speculation UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood would get the job.

Livengood, 67, said the Big East reached out to him about three weeks ago, and he told the conference two or three days ago he would stay at UNLV.

His name surfaced Monday as a candidate in a story.

"It was never a question about leaving UNLV," Livengood said Tuesday. "It's very intriguing what they're trying to do with their conference."

The Big East is in the midst of a massive overhaul, and will add Boise State and San Diego State as football-playing members next year. That conference also is trying to negotiate a major TV deal, and hiring Aresco could be part of that strategy.

He was a vice president in charge of programming at CBS since 1996, and negotiated the rights to the NCAA men's basketball tournament and the 15-year contract with the Southeastern Conference.

Before joining CBS, Aresco worked for ESPN for 12 years.

As for Livengood, he doesn't know who leaked his name to the CBS story. The timing of the story seemed odd given he already had told the conference he wasn't interested.

"I'm very, very happy with what I'm doing here," he said. "Unfortunately, things get out. It's hard to stop these things. ... They approached me. I have great respect for a number of people in that conference, and there are a number of ADs I've worked with."

The fact Livengood's name surfaced was surprising, especially since he agreed this year to a three-year extension at UNLV that will take him to December 2015.

He also has been vocal in his opposition to Boise State and San Diego State splitting their sports programs so their football teams could join the Big East.

He also is from the West and spent his career in that part of the country, most notably serving as athletic director at Washington State for six years and at Arizona for 15 before taking the same position at UNLV in December 2009.

Livengood has hired eight of the Rebels' head coaches, including Dave Rice in men's basketball and Bobby Hauck in football.

He also operated small budget surpluses each of the past two fiscal years, helping greatly increase the number of donors over that time.

"I'm excited to be at UNLV," Livengood said. "I'm excited to keep going on. I'm excited about this year."

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.