Wednesday, June 25, 2003

An ACC Disaster

The news this morning is that the ACC will invite only Miami and Virginia Tech to join their conference. This leaves out Syracuse and Boston College, who have been part of expansion plans from the beginning, and marks the completion of an amazing turnaround for Virginia Tech, who is still part of a lawsuit against the ACC, Miami, and BC. I won't wait to register an opinion: This deal is bad for everybody.

Let's go through the major players one by one:

The ACC. They get two great football schools that are within their geographical range, although the name Miami Hurricanes has about as much to do with the Old South as the name Eisenberg does. Neither Miami or Virginia Tech adds anything of note to their basketball conference. The ACC is left with eleven school, which is not enough to get the conference championship game that drove this whole thing from the beginning, and makes a mess of scheduling. They could add another school at a later date, but if Syracuse and BC don't measure up to their expectations it is hard to see who that last team would be. Also, this whole thing could blow up in their face because of . . .

Miami. This is not the deal they wanted, and it is hard to see how they benefit. They have huge fan bases in the north, and wanted to stay with Syracuse and BC. They do not get a conference championship game. Also, they will notice from this decision that they will not have nearly the clout in the ACC as they've enjoyed in . . .

The Big East. They lose their two best football schools, and a connection to the incredible Florida recruiting base. Their basketball conference will survive, but any attempt to carry on as a BCS conference will be laughable, no matter who the steal from . . .

Conference USA - Rick Pitino has figured out that he can move up in the world ( his favorite thing to do) without actually moving, and already has the entire city of Louisville's bags packed for the Big East. CUSA will survive this hit, because Louisville's football program isn't carrying them, but it only makes them look more like the second-tier conference that they are considered to be.

The whole thing obviously sucks for BC and Miami. It might play out well for Marshall and/or Central Florida, two schools with sports aspirations who may move up. But really, it's a negative, or a holding pattern, for everyone else.

The ball is now in the court of Miami President Donna Shalala. Here's hoping she saves everyone a lot of trouble and cans the whole thing.

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