Sports

Sources: AAC eyes IMG prez Pernetti as commish

The American Athletic Conference is targeting veteran college sports executive Tim Pernetti as the league’s next commissioner, sources told ESPN.

Pernetti is the president of IMG Academy and has extensive experience in the college space from his time as the former athletic director at Rutgers and a strong television background. He also has professional experience from his time as a chief business officer for New York City FC of the MLS.

Pernetti has been involved in other high-profile college searches prior to landing the AAC job. He’s set to replace Mike Aresco, who retired after serving as the only commissioner in the AAC’s 11-year history.

He takes over at a time that league has gone through significant transition, as it recently brought in Rice, UTSA, North Texas, FAU, UAB and Charlotte. The AAC is currently in a television contract with ESPN that runs through the 2031-32 academic year.

Pernetti brings strong experience in television from early in his career. He was the first hire at CSTV, the former College Sports Television Network. He worked in various positions at ABC Sports and ABC Enhanced TV from 1994 to 2003.

Pernetti was considered among the promising young athletic directors in the sport until his resignation from Rutgers in the wake of video emerging that showed former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice’s abusive behavior, which included throwing basketballs at players.

Pernetti was viewed by some as a scapegoat in the Rice incident, and he quickly reemerged in the space as a prominent executive.

His background in television, the college industry and on campus gives him the blend of experience that seemed to be sought after in commissioner roles.

The commissioner space is amid a trend of nontraditional hires, including Brett Yormark of the Big 12 and Tony Petitti of the Big Ten. (Jim Phillips of the ACC came from his job as Northwestern’s athletic director.) Pernetti’s background gives a bit of both.


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