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All Hail Val Ackerman, According To Sources

Dana O'Neil can finally relax.

USA TODAY Sports

As first reported by Bloomberg.com (wait, what? The financial news agency? Really?), and now also being reported by ESPN.com and CBSSports.com, Val Ackerman will be the first commissioner of the new Big East.

This won't be the first time that Ackerman has had the descriptor "first" attached to her job. She was the first female president of USA Basketball, serving from 2005-2008, and before that, she was the first president of the WNBA from 1996-2005. Ackerman was tabbed for that job by NBA Commissioner David Stern after serving as a staff attorney for the NBA for a number of years.

If that last paragraph didn't sell you on Ackerman's basketball credentials, then how about this: She's currently in Switzerland at FIBA meetings, probably related to the report she prepared for the NCAA on how to improve women's basketball.

ESPN says that Ackerman is expected to return to the US by this weekend, which is good, seeing as the conference officially kicks off operations on Monday. Ackerman will be able to drop right into getting day-to-day operations of the conference up and running, as the most important item for the future of the conference, the TV deal with Fox Sports 1, is already signed, sealed, and delivered.

The only downside I can see to hiring a full time commissioner is that this means that Dan Beebe's services are no longer required. Enjoy your return to #BuyoutLife, Danny Dan.

UPDATE! The Big East made Ackerman's hiring official yesterday. Here's the highlight of the press she did afterwards, brought to you by ESPN's Andy Katz: