Last night it was reported that Big East members (for now) Pittsburgh and Syracuse have held informal talks with the ACC about a potential move to that conference.
Apparently, those talks have gone well beyond the informal stage.
Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com is reporting Saturday morning that the ACC has received official letters of application from Pittsburgh and Syracuse. A Big East official subsequently told McMurphy in an update to his story that the two schools are likely gone to the ACC
A source with knowledge of the ACC’s thinking on expansion told CFT this morning that the conference has held conversations with multiple schools to ensure the league is prepared if/when there is a move to 16-member superconferences. McMurphy reports that the ACC has been contacted by 10 schools recently, presumably to inquire about becoming a member of what’s abruptly turned into a very, very proactive league.
A Big East official told CFT a short while ago that the conference has been caught off guard by the reports. There’s been no response, official or otherwise, from the Big East.
An official at a current ACC school told our own Ben Kercheval that “it would be safe to conclude [expansion] is inevitable.” The official would not speak directly on the reports connecting Pitt and ‘Cuse to the conference.
In a related note, McMurphy reports that the presidents of the ACC member schools voted unanimously last week to increase the exit fee penalties to $20 million. That’s certainly a significant development as the rumor mill last month had, at various times, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Clemson as potential targets of the SEC as that conference was in the process of adding Texas A&M as its 13th member.
Of course, exit fees of any amount can be managed/worked around, especially when a money-rich conference like the SEC is part of the discussion.
But, these reports of late show that not only is the ACC intent on keeping its current membership together, but adding to it as well as the race to 16-member superconferences has seemingly turned into a full-blown sprint. Who would’ve thought that the ACC would suddenly become the Usain Bolt of expansion?