For someone who grew up watching Howard White,
But university president Wallace Loh, who served as provost at Big Ten member
Truth is, losing the Terps hurts the ACC's image more than its pocketbook or product. Basketball has dipped since its back-to-back Final Fours in 2001 and '02, and football has one ACC title in the last 25 years.
The question now becomes: How does the ACC respond?
Quickly would be a start. Not rashly, mind you, but months of uncertainty would risk additional poaching.
And since football is every major conference’s most valuable commodity, it is powerful football schools such as
ACC commissioner John Swofford understands this, and Sunday he convened league presidents via conference call to discuss Maryland’s impending move. In his 15 years as commissioner, Swofford has added six schools to the ACC, all from the
Suffice to say, the role-reversal is not pleasant. Especially since Swofford recently spent considerable time with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany negotiating an
Gee, how awkward might their next encounter be? And how good must Delany's poker face be?
Delany, by the way, alluded to the ACC's recent move into the Midwest with Notre Dame as a reason for the Big Ten's Eastern Seaboard grab. If such pettiness truly motivated Delany, he's not as sage a businessman as advertised.
Naturally, the parlor game du jour is speculating on where the ACC will search for Maryland's replacement.
In quotes tweeted by Eric Crawford, a sports columnist for WDRB in Louisville, Pitino said: "If I'm the ACC, I'd want (Louisville), the first school I'd even think about."
Though the Cardinals deserve a long look, first is a stretch.
Swofford's initial call will be (was?) to Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who coordinated the school's recent move to the ACC for sports other than football. If the Irish joined in full, the ACC would essentially be trading Maryland for Notre Dame, a swap of Imhoff-for-Chamberlain proportions.
But the Irish, who have agreed to play five football games per year against ACC teams, are unlikely to bite. In fact, at No. 1 in the
Might there be a way to include Notre Dame's five ACC games in the standings that would allow the conference to remain at 13 full-time members and play football in unbalanced divisions? I can't fathom one, but I skipped math in college.
Twitter followers suggested targeting academic/athletic powers such as the Big Ten’s
Yes, the Longhorns and ACC have flirted, but they would be geographically isolated. Besides, the Big 12's grant-of-rights clause binds each school's media revenue, approximately $20 million annually, to the conference for the next 13 years, virtually precluding any defections.
Penn State absolutely merits exploration. The
Moreover, Penn State surely resents the Big Ten fining the institution more than $50 million in the wake of the
Still others have floated the SEC’s
Besides, hacking off SEC commissioner Mike Slive is probably not the way for the ACC to assure its stability. This because you just know Slive would counter, perhaps by courting ACC schools such as
With 10 national basketball championships, three men and seven women, strong Olympic sports and a top-flight academic reputation (63rd in U.S News and World Report rankings),
clearly fits the ACC profile and would bail the Big East in a blink. There’s also a certain
based in Bristol, Conn., that would approve of the Huskies.
But aside from a
Which brings us to UConn’s Big East rival Louisville.
Louisville offers national-championship pedigree in basketball and has finished no lower than 41st in the Directors' Cup all-sports standings each of the last five years. The Cardinals have rabid support and cutting-edge facilities.
Louisville also would solidify the ACC’s southern flank and bring the conference fiscal strength. The Cardinals reported $87.8 million in 2011-12 athletics revenue to the
The issue with Louisville is academics. The ACC often boasts of its U.S. News rankings, and at No. 160, Louisville is far below No. 106 North Carolina State, the ACC's lowest-rated school.
The Cardinals’ latest Graduation Success Rate for athletes is a solid 80 percent but lags behind all but three of the 12 current ACC members:
Reader's Digest version: There is no perfect candidate.
After the 2012 campaigns, we're used to it.
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