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ACC extends ‘best wishes’ to new B1G member Maryland

John Swofford AP

In nearly 60 years of existence, the ACC had seen just one of its member schools depart, that being founding member South Carolina bolting for independence in 1971 before joining the SEC in 1992.

Over four decades after that initial departure, the conference has seen another as Maryland confirmed Monday that they were leaving the ACC for the money-green pastures of the Big Ten.

In what’s nothing short of the most gracious statement you’ll ever see in this type of situation, commissioner John Swofford extended the best wishes to and lamented the loss of the university as a conference member.

“Our best wishes are extended to all of the people associated with the University of Maryland. Since our inception, they have been an outstanding member of our conference and we are sorry to see them exit. For the past 60 years the Atlantic Coast Conference has exhibited leadership in academics and athletics. This is our foundation and we look forward to building on it as we move forward.”

There was no indication from Swofford in which direction the ACC will head, whether it be standing pat with 13 members (highly, highly unlikely) or move to fill the hole created by Maryland’s departure (highly likely).  If it is indeed the latter, the early odds-on favorite to become the 14th member is UConn of the Big East.

The Northeast school has openly flirted with the ACC throughout the last two rounds of conference expansion, with officials both directly and indirectly associated with the university pushing for inclusion in one of the power conferences.  If the tea leaves are correct, those individuals will see the move come to fruition in short order, although there are some in the ACC pushing for a school such as Louisville.

Of course, losing UConn would be the tail-end of a one-two gut punch for a wobbly Big East.  Along with Maryland, the Big Ten is expected to grab the Big East’s Rutgers to push its membership to an even 14.  That announcement is expected to officially come tomorrow, although various media outlets are already reporting it as a done deal.

The Big East will lose Pittsburgh and Syracuse in July of 2013, but will gain Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and UCF the same year, and Navy in 2015.  That would leave the conference with 10 football-playing members in 2013 — including current members Cincinnati, Louisville, Temple and USF — and 11 two years later; the Big East is looking to get to 12 members in order to conduct a conference championship game in football, with Air Force, BYU and Army among the rumored targets.

All of this upheaval is particularly damaging to the Big East as the conference is currently in the midst of negotiating a new television contract.  The instability, through no fault of their own, threatens to devalue the conference product and potentially cost member institutions millions of dollars annually.

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19 Responses to “ACC extends ‘best wishes’ to new B1G member Maryland”
  1. jimmy53 says: Nov 19, 2012 1:09 PM

    Dear Santa,

    All I want for Christmas is a new conference.

    sincerely,

    FSU

  2. jimbo75025 says: Nov 19, 2012 1:11 PM

    Don’t let the door hit ya’ where the Good Lord split ya’ Maryland. Enjoy getting some serious butt whippings in football for a few years

  3. pastabelly says: Nov 19, 2012 1:29 PM

    Louisville does not meet the academic standards of the ACC or even most high schools, for that matter. Bring in UConn.

  4. deadeye says: Nov 19, 2012 1:30 PM

    And UCONN will be replacing Maryland in the ACC.

    That’s yet another bad move in a series of bad moves the ACC has made in recent years. UCONN is basketball school. Don’t they understand that the football schools want and need better football talent for strength of schedule?

  5. sssjim7 says: Nov 19, 2012 1:31 PM

    I think UConn will make an excellent new member of the ACC…

    I would also consider grabbing Louisville AND Cincinati, too… that would be 16 teams + ND…

    Two 8 team divisions with ND games mixed in to increase SOS would leave the ACC sitting pretty for 2014…

    Just my .02

  6. buckeye044 says: Nov 19, 2012 1:42 PM

    UNC and Ga Tech to follow?

  7. drummerhoff says: Nov 19, 2012 1:42 PM

    Add UConn and that makes 7 ex-Big East school in the ACC… or should we start calling Swofford’s conference “Big East 2.0″?

    Good luck maintaining stability. Your the conference whose “ox is being gored” as was prophetized last spring.

  8. jimmy53 says: Nov 19, 2012 1:45 PM

    Anyone who buys the “academic standards” argument of conference expansion: I have some land to sell you. It’s crap—it’s been admitted by university presidents that it’s crap. NC St has not gotten extra grants because they are in the same conference as UVA or UNC. No one writes “attended FSU, which is in the same conference as Duke” on their job applications. Ole Miss does not look like an academic powerhouse because it is in the same conference as UF. If academic standards were a consideration then we’d all be adding Yale, and the ACC would kick out UNC for the current cheating scandal. It’s a PR move to make it look like the conference commissioners look like they have the moral high ground.

    It’s about money and tv ratings–plain and simple.

  9. jimmy53 says: Nov 19, 2012 1:47 PM

    Buckeye044:

    UNC will never leave the ACC–they’re getting everything they want. Swofford treats them like they’re the Texas of the ACC.

  10. sssjim7 says: Nov 19, 2012 1:48 PM

    @deadeye

    Nothing is preventing FSU and/or Clemson from scheduling home and home games with Oregon and Alabama each year if they want to increase their SOS.

    I guarantee those games would be nationally televised and sold out. Kind of stupid to pad your schedule with FBS teams you have to pay to get to play you in half-filled stadiums when nearly every conference has 4-5 weak teams you have to play anyway.

    That is what I would do rather than jump conferences…

    ~Jim

  11. houndofthebaskervols says: Nov 19, 2012 2:23 PM

    This is getting ridiculous. Somebody needs to sit down and figure out how to pay these kids, these alignments are insane.

  12. ningenito78 says: Nov 19, 2012 2:32 PM

    Nothing is preventing FSU and/or Clemson from scheduling home and home games with Oregon and Alabama each year if they want to increase their SOS.

    Well it takes two to tango and teams like Alabama and Oregon likely wouldn’t want to schedule those schools. Alabama, for one, doesn’t need any help in the SOS so why risk losing a game in Tallahassee? For Oregon I doubt they want to take their team across the country to play a tough game early in the season (when most OOC games take place). It’s not as simple as saying ‘we need to up our SOS. Call Oregon’. A lot of the teams you would want to schedule don’t want to play ball because they don’t have to. Why risk a loss?

  13. deadeye says: Nov 19, 2012 3:05 PM

    @sssjim7

    I hear you, and it does make sense to schedule difficult OOC games for that very reason. But sometimes those opponents back out of games at the last second (like WVU did to FSU this season) and you don’t want to be stuck with a hopelessly weak SoS as a result.

    The ACC had a chance to add WVU and/or Louisville recently. Instead they chose to add Syracuse and Pittsburgh. That was choosing basketball over football, which was their perogative. But it’s the perogative of the football schools to leave if the ACC becomes too basketball centric. And that is precisely what VT, FSU, GT, and Clemson are planning on doing.

  14. ningenito78 says: Nov 19, 2012 4:25 PM

    The ACC had a chance to add WVU and/or Louisville recently. Instead they chose to add Syracuse and Pittsburgh. That was choosing basketball over football, which was their perogative.

    I don’t know. Louisville has as good a basketball pedigree as any school and a better football program lately. So I don’t know if it was ‘choosing basketball over football’ as much as getting the ACC into NY and Pennsylvania as opposed to the middle of Kentucky (money money money).

  15. kombayn says: Nov 19, 2012 7:10 PM

    I do think the ACC will bring in UConn to be the 14th member. I can only see Miami being the only other school that would consider leaving but that would only happen if the SEC came knocking on the door.

    Once UConn becomes the 14th member, the ACC should push Notre Dame to become a full member which will stabilize the ACC after you’re at 15 members then the ACC should look at adding Georgetown in all-sports but football and add Navy as a football-only member.

    At that point you have 16 teams with Notre Dame into the fold and you bring back the market lost from the Maryland departure by adding the Georgetown/Navy combination. ACC needs to start making moves now though so the Big 12 doesn’t try to come poaching.

  16. ningenito78 says: Nov 19, 2012 8:19 PM

    ^^^ This comment looks familiar….

  17. amosalanzostagg says: Nov 19, 2012 11:24 PM

    Florida will never allow Miami nor FSU into the SEC, FSU Administration and faculty are on the record stating they do not want a move to the Big 12 citing academics.

    Louisville will never be in the SEC because Kentucky would block anything relating to Louisville.

    The ACC was smart in getting Syracuse and Pittsburgh for the only reason of TV market share. Market share speaks money to the alphabet networks. Louisville and UConn makes the most sense if you look at TV share and not product.

    The big 12 is not a factor. Texas has it’s network and could care less about adding to the big 12. Texas has a conference it controls (See the article on Texas dictating a mandatory home game against a conference opponent on Thanksgiving.)

    Unless Deloss decides to jettison LHN, the only conference viable for Texas is the PAC-12. Texas doesn’t have the votes. Both Arizona schools, Colorado, Utah, and the Oregon schools don’t want Texas, and the PAC-12 would want supervision of the LHN and Deloss won’t do that.

    If Texas is so attractive for TV market share, explain why the B1G gave bids to a school that has pared it’s athletic program and a State school that is a mid major at best? The B1G knows that Texas would want to control the B1G. That is simply not going to happen.

    Bottom line, the ACC has an overall athletic conference that ranks right up there with the B1G and the SEC. Just be patient….. and whatever you do, do not invite Texas into your
    league. Just ask Arkansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M and to a lesser extent
    Rice, Houston, SMU, the Presidents and Chancellors of the PAC-12, the B1G and the ACC.

    They know what Texas is.

  18. wustlumdnj says: Nov 20, 2012 2:59 AM

    Actions speak louder than words. Yes, this was a very professional, dare I say “kind” statement – but as conference raider #1 (Miami, VT, BC, Pitt, Syracuse with no provocation), John Swofford will always be the face of the dollar bill to me in college athletics.

    To those who pointed out loss of tradition as a negative for Maryland leaving, Swofford forewent tradition a long time ago in the ACC.

  19. thegamecocker says: Nov 27, 2012 5:27 PM

    Swofford is no more than a talking head for Coach K and Coach Roy Williams. The ACC is a basketball conference who tried to become an all-sports conference and has failed miserably. The power of the ACC has always been in the State of North Carolina. UNC & Duke are the kingpins established under Dean Smith. I cannot believe the football schools allowed a basketball man like John Swofford to be its commissioner. Gee, I wonder how that happened? I’m told Coach K loathed Jim Calhoun. Now Jim Calhoun is gone. UCONN would do anything to get into that league. But, Louisville is the better play because of football and basketball.

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