Even as the Big East is on the verge of inking a new television deal, one of its members is still very publicly hiking up its skirt and showing some leg to another conference.
Back in late November, a report surfaced that Cincinnati had attempted to enlist the help of former Bearcat defensive back and current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer in UC’s efforts to garner an invitation from the ACC. While Meyer declined, those efforts continued into the next month.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, and subsequently followed up on by CBSSports.com, the university “sent a video description of the $70 million project to all of the Atlantic Coast Conference presidents, the latest sign that it’s still campaigning for a spot in that league.” The $70 million project refers to improvements to Nippert Stadium, the football home of the Bearcats.
The paper further writes that “[a]s part of the process of selling UC to ACC member schools, [president Santa] Ono also sent holiday cards to each of the ACC presidents.” Based on the latest reports, a greeting card is the least a Big East school could/should do as part of its wooing efforts; membership in the ACC could be worth at least eight times as much in annual television revenue — $17 million versus a rumored $2 million — when compared to the future financial prospects of current Big East members.
As far as the Nippert renovations go, the proposed project would add about 1,200 box seats, 44 loge boxes and 28 private suites, and would be completed late in the summer of 2015.
After the ACC lost Maryland to the Big Ten, Cincinnati and fellow Big East members Louisville and UConn were mentioned as potential replacements, In late November, it was announced that Louisville had been added as an ACC member, continuing an 18-month-long mass exodus from the Big East. Unfortunately for all involved, that may not be the last defection.
Rumors continue to persist that the Big Ten could be looking to perform another raid on the ACC. In fact, just this afternoon the 247Sports.com website dedicated to Maryland sports tweeted that Virginia is “being mentioned as likely to join” the B1G, while Georgia Tech — another source of speculation as it relates to the Midwest conference — is still in the mix. The website went so far as to write that North Carolina, “the big domino, has an offer” from the Big Ten. The website goes on to refer to the Tar Heels as “the apocalyptic domino.”
Such a development involving any of those current ACC schools would certainly be good news for the likes of Cincinnati and UConn, but yet another round of bad news for the Big East.
It should be noted that, back in early December, reports that Georgia Tech and Virginia were in the midst of negotiations with the Big Ten were almost immediately shot down and debunked by all involved.
One thing appears to be certain in the latest round of speculation, though: anyone hoping for a quiet offseason on the expansion front (raises hand vigorously) will likely be sorely disappointed.