Tagliabue hired as special adviser

Faced with a possible upcoming raid by the Big Ten, the Big East has added former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue as a special adviser for strategic planning.

Tagliabue, who was NFL commissioner from 1989 to 2006, will serve in the role as an unpaid consultant. He is currently the chairman of the board of directors at Georgetown.

"Few individuals have had as broad and deep experiences in sports as Paul Tagliabue," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement. "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."

Big East officials say Tagliabue will help assess the conference's strengths and weaknesses and explore TV and other media opportunities. The Big East is in the fourth year of its TV deals with ESPN and CBS. The threat of losing teams to the Big Ten, however, looms over all future endeavors for the league.

Brian Bennett covers Big East football for ESPN.com.