May 14, 2003
SOONER THAN LATER
ACC MOVES FORWARD WITH THE EXPANSION PROCESS
It happened...and now it's not how many...but who?
With the Big East Conference meetings approaching this weekend in Florida, the Atlantic Coast Conference put the wheels in motion. Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford held a lengthy conference call with ACC member presidents yesterday and the vote was 7-2 in favor of expansion...adding Miami of the Big East and opening the door for two more schools. Boston College and Syracuse seem to be a lock....but Virginia Tech is being looked at as a school that brings a lot to the financial table. Duke and North Carolina dissented...and that is understandable given the basketball successes through the years. The big four....Wake, NC State, UNC, and Duke will now control only one third of the power vote...instead of almost one half...when other ACC issues surface.
What's next? Talk....and a lot of it. Swofford and Miami athletic director Paul Dee are trying to put the final touches on the proposal. Dee said yesterday there is still a lot of information he needs before he can go to his president and make the recommendation to jump leagues. Word from my media friends is that Miami wants Boston College and Syracuse to join them...and that's the odds on favorite what will happen.
What about the Hokies? If everything comes down the way it's being reported, Virginia Tech will be left out, even though UVA and Georgia Tech are lobbying for VT. It does make a lot of sense for an offer to be extended to Tech, considering their athletic program, their football team, and their fans...who would travel to a football game before a family reunion.
The whole ACC expansion thing is about money, TV revenues, and positioning. The final year of the BCS football playoff mess is 2005. If there is to be another system, the ACC, with 12 member schools including Florida State and Miami, will be in a perfect position of power. Plus, the ACC will have 72 games to choose from, not 54, when the regular TV negotiations begin in the spring. The league will be able to compete for major TV dollars against the Big 12, SEC and Big Ten.
Okay...just for fun....let's break down a North and South Division. There is also one more catch...allegedly Miami has said they want to be in the same division as Florida State so they only have to play each other once a year...not twice which could happen if they won their respective divisions and played for the conference football title.
Virginia, Maryland, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Boston College, Duke
Miami, Florida State, NC State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina
There are more questions forthcoming...like basketball, and the ACC tournament and ticket distribution...and venues...and maybe Duke and UNC need to be in the same division so they have a home and home in basketball every year. But those are just details...blips on the radar screen underneath a major, major story.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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