Skip to comments.Big East may go to 16 teams no matter what
Posted on 06/17/2003 6:04:33 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
The ACC announced Tuesday that a vote for expansion might not occur until later this month, but regardless of the outcome the Big East is going to be proactive about its future and pursue a 16-team league, a source told ESPN.com.
At least one source close to the Big East said the conference wouldn't stand idle waiting to get raided again by the ACC or another league.
The source said the Big East cannot remain a fractured 14-team league in basketball and eight teams in football. The financial issues would still be divisive if the league remained as is even if Miami, Boston College and Syracuse return to the league. That's why the Big East has to protect itself. The basketball members of the league don't want to get left out by another wave of expansion.
If all three schools remained in the league, then the Big East could still add two schools that don't play football, such as Marquette out of Conference USA and Xavier out of the Atlantic 10. If only Miami leaves for the ACC, then the Big East would go after Louisville (Conference USA) for football and basketball to keep the Big East at eight football-playing members and then add schools such as Marquette and Xavier to get up to eight non-football schools.
The 16-team federation in the Big East would have cross-over games in basketball but probably would have a different revenue-sharing plan with the eight-school football group keeping its share of money.
The ACC is trying to gather support among its members to add Miami, Boston College and Syracuse to become a 12-team conference and have a football championship game.
The ACC needs seven "yes" votes from its membership of nine to add a school, and a vote in favor of Miami is expected to pass. Taking the Hurricanes would not crush the Big East, a charge that concerns ACC presidents in light of a lawsuit filed last week by Big East football schools Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia and Virginia Tech.
The ACC failed to reach a consensus on expansion in five hours of talks over two days last week.
The three Big East schools would have to pay a $1 million exit fee if they left for the ACC. The figure would double if they don't notify the Big East by June 30 and want to leave for the 2004-05 season. If they want to leave for the 2005-06 season, they have until June 30, 2004, to notify the conference and pay the $1 million fee.
Recent reports claiming the ACC would add only Miami in a first wave of expansion are not unfounded. The conference could easily expand to 10 without an uproar from its members. From a basketball standpoint, adding Miami and maintaining a true round-robin schedule of 18 conference games would be acceptable, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski told ESPN.com last month. And the addition of Miami in football would only enhance the ACC's product by giving it two national powers in the Hurricanes and rival Florida State.
The Big East likely would retain its spot in the Bowl Championship Series with eight football members, which would include Louisville as a replacement for Miami. In this scenario, Virginia Tech is the most prominent of the league's eight football teams. For basketball, a Miami-for-Louisville swap would actually make the Big East a better conference and even more attractive to television networks in the next negotiating period.
The ACC might petition the NCAA to hold a championship football game with 10 teams instead of the required 12, but this would be done not for competitive reasons but if a potential financial windfall presents itself. Splitting the league into two five-team divisions for football might not make as much sense. The ACC definitely would stay a 10-team conference in men's basketball in one linear division. Even if the ACC expanded to 12, basketball coaches would like to see a 12-team whole -- like the Big 12 -- and not two six-team divisions. Scheduling might mirror a football divisional schedule like the Big 12, but the standings would not show divisions.
If the ACC added only Miami for the 2004-05 season, then it could revisit expansion next year if it wanted to grow to 12. Sources told ESPN.com it would be more difficult for Miami to return to the Big East because of the lawsuit and criticism leveled by Big East presidents toward Miami president Donna Shalala. Boston College would be in a precarious position if it remained in the league that sued it, but the Eagles might not have a choice. Syracuse wasn't named in the lawsuit but was ready to accept an invitation to join the ACC out of what was termed a necessity to follow Miami.
Seven of the nine ACC schools must vote in favor of expansion for the plan to pass, but The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that Duke, North Carolina and Virginia were opposed as late as last week's conference call. It was the hope of ACC commissioner John Swofford that formal invitations to Miami, BC and Syracuse would go out last Wednesday.
Sources have told ESPN.com the ACC is working extremely hard at swinging the vote of North Carolina. Swofford, the former athletic director at UNC, faces a much more difficult task in trying to persuade Duke to change its anti-expansion vote. The Blue Devils perennially are one of the worst football teams in Division I-A, and adding the likes of Miami, BC, and Syracuse would make competing in the ACC even more daunting for Duke.
The Tar Heels have been nationally ranked in the past and might be more receptive to expansion. However, North Carolina's faculty came out against expansion, in large part because it wasn't consulted. That's why university president James Moeser and athletic director Dick Baddour met with the faculty last week to discuss the expansion plan. If the university can persuade the faculty to go along with expansion, there could be hope for a "yes" vote.
Trying to sway Virginia to vote "yes" could be much more challenging. The Cavaliers are under extreme in-state political pressure because of the damage that could come to Virginia Tech from being left out. But a number of sources have said the Cavaliers would rather not have Virginia Tech in the same conference because of recruiting advantages (mainly in basketball) Virginia has over Tech as an ACC school.
The five remaining Big East football schools -- UConn, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia and Virginia Tech -- filed a lawsuit to try to block expansion. The schools have accused the ACC, Boston College and Miami of taking part in a conspiracy to expand and ultimately to weaken the Big East. The lawsuit contends the five schools have invested millions of dollars in their football programs based on presumed loyalty from the other schools.
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Tuesday, June 17, 2003 7:35PM EDT
ACC says vote on expansion not likely until late June
By DAVID DROSCHAK, ASSOCIATED PRESS
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Atlantic Coast Conference said Tuesday it might not vote until later this month on whether to add Miami, Syracuse and Boston College to the league.
The ACC's statement was issued on the eve of a teleconference among the school's top leaders and league commissioner John Swofford, who insisted last week there was no timetable for the vote.
The three Big East schools each have to pay a $1 million exit fee if they bolt to the ACC, and the penalty doubles after June 30.
"The ACC is engaged in a thorough, member-driven, strategic planning process designed to ensure the long-term viability of the conference," Ron Wellman, Wake Forest's athletic director and chair of the ACC athletic directors, said in the statement.
The ACC's nine presidents and chancellors spoke by teleconference last week but reached no consensus on whether to expand the nine-team league. An expansion would require approval by seven of them.
"It was never imperative that a decision had to be made today, tomorrow or the next day. As much time as is needed will be taken," Kevin Morrow, a Syracuse spokesman, said Tuesday.
Officials from the other two Big East schools did not return calls seeking comment.
Duke and North Carolina have voiced concern about travel costs, student welfare and projected football revenues of an ACC title game and future TV contracts. Virginia also has had to weigh political pressure from a state legislature that wants Virginia Tech included in the expansion mix.
The five remaining Big East football schools - Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia and Virginia Tech - have sued to try to stop the expansion.
The ACC has expanded just twice in 50 years. Florida State was added in 1991 and Georgia Tech in '78.
How is a raid when it's Miami that asks the ACC first if they are interested? This all started w/ Miami and FSU wanting to be in the the same conference, and that conference not the Big East They've (UM & FSU) have been working on this project at least 2 years.
The SEC wants them if the ACC doesn't.
Whatever happens, the Big East is not in Miami's future plans. The nitwits in the ACC are the Tarholes and Puke, and that weak sister Casteen of UVa who's letting the Democrat Gov. MarkyMark Wormer and the RINO Senators Warner and Allen and state AG Guv. Wannabe Kilgore push him around.
7:00 AM tommorrow ACC conf call meeting, let's all hope and pray they have the neccessary 7 votes together this time.
It'll be awhile before I pick myself up off the floor.
nobody cares who's in the stands, it's the people watching it on TV that bring in the real money.
ACC dozen, that's what the big money's talking about.
Tech's a long reach, they have to flip five votes. They got GT and UVa and no maybes last count I heard.
I'm looking forward to seeing if Marky Mark shows up to hand out the trophy this year in C'ville.
And UVa went way out on a limb for Vippy Sue before Wormy was involved, and look what it got them. a cheap lawsuit. That's a real bunch of sorry ingrates in Blacksburg.