Much like they were when the ACC began in 2003 what would ultimately become a three-school raid of the Big East, the NCAA has been completely and totally silent when it comes to the latest — and what will arguably be the most historic shift when it’s all said and done — round of expansion.
So, if you’re expecting the governing body of collegiate sports to step at any point in the near or distant future, you’re likely wasting your time.
The NCAA did release a statement late last night regarding the expansion issue, and made it perfectly clear — they’re watching this one on the sidelines, right along with you, me and everyone else.
Here’s the statement, in its entirety, from NCAA interim president Jim Isch:
Much has been and will be written regarding conference realignment. Some “experts” have questioned where the NCAA is in this process. The answer is the NCAA is exactly where it should be–not directly in the discussion but standing ready to work with the conferences when realignment is finalized.
In reality there is neither historical precedent nor legislative authority for the NCAA to be involved in conference matters such as these. Realignment and conference expansion is solely between the individual institutions and the conferences. Over the last two decades there have been about 30 conference realignments and none involved direct discussions with the NCAA. However, we are closely monitoring the developments and potential impacts. By doing so we ensure the most appropriate and responsive support to our membership.
This same philosophy was exhibited in the last round of major conference movement seven years ago when Miami (Florida), Virginia Tech and Boston College left the Big East for the ACC and set off a chain of movement that affected four other conferences.
The NCAA’s core mission — to maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of higher education and to ensure the student-athlete is at the forefront of everything we do remains unchanged. We believe that is a mission shared with conferences and our member institutions. As the conference landscape unfolds in the near future, the NCAA will be an active partner with our member schools and conferences to ensure maximum participation and education opportunities and a fair playing field for more than 400,000 student-athletes who compete in NCAA sports.