ACC presidents pull trigger under fire
[ Originally posted 06.25.03. ]
The Atlantic Coast Conference web site features a fancy graphic
highlighting the league's celebration of its golden anniversary, accompanied
by a prominent tagline: "Commemorating 50 years
of excellence in intercollegiate athletics."
Next year, perhaps the site's editors will amend that tagline to add:
"... And that 50th year was a doozie."
On a day that powerful voices from the league's heartland chimed in with disdain
over recent events, the mud-wrestling match between the Atlantic
Coast Conference and the Big East over schools the former has been trying to
snatch from the latter appeared headed for a dramatic, unanticipated
The Washington Post and
ESPN.com all reported overnight that
the ACC's presidents had voted to issue invitations to Miami and Virginia
Tech abandoning all previous game plans as well as a pair of northern
schools they had been hotly courting, Boston College and Syracuse.
Now that the league's labored deliberations have finally arrived at a
decision on which programs will be formally offered membership,
the move poses more questions than it answers.
Will Miami with an alumni base rooted solidly in the northeast and
which is thought to feel reluctant about the idea of departing the Big East
unless accompanied by cultural cousins Boston College and Syracuse take
Will Virginia Tech a vociferous plaintiff against the ACC in a lawsuit
aimed at halting the raid on the Big East follow its heart or its brain,
its fanbase or its lawyers? Will it be swayed by the fear of being labeled
the ultimate symbol of college athletics hypocrisy?
Will Boston College and Syracuse instigate legal actions of their own,
accusing the ACC of misleading them into an exposed position that has
severely and irreparably damaged their relations with the Big East brethren
they jilted for an irresistible siren song?
Will the nine-member ACC in order to accommodate two divisions, logical
scheduling and a football title game feel compelled to quickly issue
another invitation to round out the lot to 12 schools?
In any event, ACC commissioner John Swofford had little to say in the
wake of the long and secretive umpteenth teleconference that led to the
blockbuster decision a decision the league office did not acknowledge.
"We are very close to reaching a definitive conclusion to this process,"
said Swofford in a statement. "We expect to have an announcement in the near
The end-game didn't come soon enough to head off another day of stinging
criticism from a pair of Tobacco Road icons who are convinced the ACC
strayed from its mission.
Former UNC System president William Friday was of the opinion the whole
deal should be called off.
I think the wisest thing now, given the turmoil we're in, is to just say
wait a minute and grab the opportunity to show real leadership as a
conference and say were just not going to talk about this any further right
now, Friday told Raleigh's Time Warner Cable News 14.
For the first time in my experience you're seeing the intervention of
politics in making decisions that are strictly academic and institutional
issues, Friday said. That's not a good thing.
Friday's reference to politics was in regards to the involvement of
states' attorneys general in the lawsuit filed against the ACC by Virginia
Tech, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and UConn.
Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski indicated the ACC hasn't
distinguished itself in its aggressive efforts to annex several schools at the
expense of the Big East, and he lent his support to a plan to add only
"I hope we mend fences because we've obviously gone into another person's
yard with our tractor-trailer and knocked down a few trees," Krzyzewski said
Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
Rutgers had suggested a compromise, embraced by North Carolina chancellor
James Moeser, that would allow
Miami to join the ACC, but only as long as ACC
officials agreed to end their bid to add other Big East schools.
Copyright 2003 Bonesville.net. The Associated
Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
02/23/2007 10:36:43 AM