Posted on: September 18, 2011 8:15 am
Edited on: September 18, 2011 10:54 am
 

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents unanimously voted to accept Pittsburgh and Syracuse as new members Sunday, the league announced. The invitation followed the submission of letters of application from both universities.

“The ACC is a strong united conference that is only going to get better with the addition of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University,” said Duke President Richard Broadhead, chair of the ACC Council of Presidents.  “Both schools are committed to competing at the highest level of academics and athletics.  We welcome them as full partners in the ACC.”

On Saturday morning, CBSSports.com first reported that Pitt and Syracuse had submitted letters of application to the ACC. Commissioner John Swofford said the league would respect the Big East's withdrawal by-laws, which requires 27 months notice. However, it's doubtful the Big East would want Pitt and Syracuse to remain in the league over that period because it would seek to immediately add additional members to survive.

“The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard,” Swofford said. “Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC’s reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States.”

It also could serve as a devastating blow to the Big East Conference. Syracuse was a founding member and Pittsburgh has been a member since 1982. The Big East was stunned by the news and didn't learn that either school had submitted a letter of application to the ACC until Saturday.

“This is an exciting day for the University of Pittsburgh. We have a long history of competing and collaborating with the distinguished universities that already are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and have enormous respect for both their academic strengths and their athletic accomplishments,” Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said. “In looking to our own future, we could not envision a better conference home for Pitt and are grateful to the Council of Presidents for extending an invitation to join the ACC community.”

Pittsburgh desire to leave the Big East was "common knowledge," several Big East sources told CBSSports.com. Nordenberg has served as chairman of the Big East's executive committee of presidents and "put the brakes" on the Big East accepting a $1.3 million media rights deal from ESPN in the spring.

“This is a very significant day for all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff at the University of Pittsburgh,” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. “The strength and quality of the ACC is highly regarded by everyone at Pitt. When we set high expectations for our student-athletes in their academic, athletic and personal goals, it is important to provide every opportunity and resource to enable that success. Joining the ACC and the outstanding institutions in this conference will give every Pitt student-athlete the chance to achieve their highest aspirations."

The addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse will speed up the race to 16-team superconferences. So what will happen next? Here's one viewpoint on what lies ahead for the ACC and Big East along with the other four automatic qualifying BCS leagues and Notre Dame.

"We are very excited to be joining the ACC," Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor said. "This is a tremendous opportunity for Syracuse, and with its outstanding academic quality and athletic excellence, the ACC is a perfect fit for us. The ACC is home to excellent national research universities with very strong academic quality, and is a group that Syracuse will contribute to significantly and benefit from considerably.

"As a comprehensive, all-sports conference, the ACC provides Syracuse tremendous opportunities for quality competition and growth in all sports, while also renewing some of our historic rivalries. This move will also bolster our continued efforts to look outward, engage, and extend Syracuse’s reach to key areas of the country, including the southeast, as we grow and expand our national connections to alumni, partners and the students of the future. We are pleased that Syracuse adds a New York City dimension to the ACC, a region in which we have built strong identity and affinity, and we look forward to bringing ACC games to the Big Apple.  Overall, for Syracuse, this opportunity provides long-term conference stability in what is an uncertain, evolving, and rapidly shifting national landscape."

The league did not announce when Syracuse and Pittsburgh would join the conference. The Big East requires 27 months notice to leave the conference, although it's doubtful that would be enforced, sources said, since the Big East would want to replace both schools as quickly as possible. Big East schools must pay $5 million to leave. Last week, the ACC unanimously increased its withdrawal fee to $20 million, in a move of solidarity.

"Today is a day that we will remember for years to come," Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross said. "We are truly excited that academically and athletically we will be a member of the ACC, one of the nation's premier collegiate athletic conferences. As New York's College Team, we plan to compete at the highest level across all of our sports and help to enhance this great conference."

Gross is absolutely right: today is the day that the entire college football conference landscape will remember as the day it changed forever.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:26 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 10:31 pm
 

Big East commish issues statement

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Big East commissioner John Marinatto issued a statement Saturday night on the news that Pittsburgh and Syracuse are headed to the ACC.

“Although I was obviously very disappointed to learn the news about the ACC’s being in discussions about membership with the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University, I continue to believe the Big East Conference is well positioned for the future and that the events of the past 24 hours will unify our membership," Marinatto said. "We have been working steadily to solidify and strengthen the Big East  Conference and position us for our upcoming TV negotiations and I am confident that we will again emerge from this situation and remain strong."

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: September 18, 2011 12:14 am
 

Pitt, Syracuse apply to ACC, likely in on Sunday

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Pittsburgh and Syracuse submitted letters of application to the Atlantic Coast Conference and are "likely gone" from the Big East, high ranking ACC and Big East officials told CBSSports.com.

CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish reported Saturday afternoon that the league could vote to accept the two schools as early as Sunday. On Saturday night the ACC announced it would hold a media teleconference at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The league did not specify what the teleconference was about, but the league's presidents are expected to formally vote to admit Pitt and Syracuse Sunday morning.

It's unknown if the schools could join the ACC next season.

Here’s the latest breakdown on what to expect among the six automatic qualifying conferences.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse independently submitted letters of application to the ACC, a league source told CBSSports.com.

Florida State President Eric Barron told The Associated Press on Saturday before the Seminoles played No. 1 Oklahoma that the ACC was excited about adding to its "northern tier."

"Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who have applied, these are solid academic schools, and the ACC is a truly academic conference," Barron said. "Certainly great basketball teams, a good history of football.

"I'm sure consideration will be very fast. I'll be surprised if it's not [Sunday]."

Earlier, a Big East official told CBSSports.com: "There is no scenario where a president applies to a league and isn't admitted."

Ironically, Pittsburgh chancellor Mark Nordenberg is the chairman of the Big East's executive committee. A Big East official added: "It's sort of like the fox in the hen house."

An ACC official said its league has been contacted by 10 schools, but the official would not disclose what conferences those schools were from. 

Also, at last week’s ACC presidents meeting in Greensboro, N.C., the league’s presidents “unanimously” voted to increase the ACC’s exit fee to $20 million. This takes affect immediately. The previous exit fee amount was $12 million to $15 million.

The loss of Syracuse and Pittsburgh could be devastating to the Big East. Syracuse was a founding member and Pittsburgh has been with the league since 1982.

An ACC official also indicated Texas has "reached out" to the ACC, but any speculation that Texas is joining the ACC is "premature."

An ACC official also said there is no timeline on expansion for the league.

In July, ACC commissioner John Swofford talked about expansion with CBSSports.com.

"I don't think it's inevitable, doesn't mean it won't happen," Swofford said. "That [going to 16 teams] is not easy to do. It's a very sexy subject to write about. It's easy to write about it and make those predictions, but if they don't come true nobody remembers you made those predictions. I think in talking [to other BCS commissioners] -- all of us -- what we want to do is what's best for our conference. We had some very thorough [talks] in the past year because of last summer -- that weren't very public -- but they were very thorough. Our preference is to remain at 12 [schools], we like 12 as the number. We're not crazy about 14 or 16 [schools] because it begins to change a number of things tangibly such as scheduling and intangibly such as culture.

"But we want to remain nimble enough so if we want to look in that direction we'll be ready to do that in very short order. Twelve [teams] works. It's not to say 14 or 16 can't work, it can. I don't think [16 team conferences] is inevitable, it's possible."

A Big East official said it's "common knowledge" among league members that Pittsburgh wants to get its name out in expansion talks.

The Big East, trying to survive all the conference realignment scenarios, has reached out to Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State Baylor, said a Big 12 athletic director.

“Although I was obviously very disappointed to learn the news about the ACC’s being in discussions about membership with the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University, I continue to believe the Big East Conference is well positioned for the future and that the events of the past 24 hours will unify our membership," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement. "We have been working steadily to solidify and strengthen the Big East  Conference and position us for our upcoming TV negotiations and I am confident that we will again emerge from this situation and remain strong."

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 17, 2011 9:27 am
Edited on: September 17, 2011 9:31 am
 

Pitt, Syracuse send ACC letters of application

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Atlantic Coast Conference has received letters of application from Pittsburgh and Syracuse, a high ranking league official told CBSSports.com.

The ACC also has recently been contacted by 10 schools, the official said. However, they would not disclose what conferences those schools were from. 

Also, at last week’s ACC presidents meeting in Greensboro, N.C., the league’s presidents “unanimously” voted to increase the ACC’s exit fee to $20 million. This takes affect immediately.

The New York Times reported Friday that Syracuse, Pitt and the ACC had been in talks about the two Big East schools joining the league. Representatives from all three declined comment to the Times.

ACC commissioner John Swofford has said previously that the ACC will always be mindful and do what’s best for its member institutions.”



Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 8, 2011 9:53 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 1:18 am
 

OSU: Focused on Big 12, won't speculate on Pac-12

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis told CBSSports.com Thursday his school is focused on remaining in the Big 12. However, he would not speculate on the Cowboys’ future if Texas A&M leaves the league.

“I think [the Big 12] can exist,” Hargis said. “I don’t think it’s a fait accompli A&M is gone. Obviously the SEC had a string on their bid.”

Hargis said if Texas A&M leaves, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are “not necessarily” headed to the Pac-12. “That’s a hypothetical, but we want 10 teams [in the Big 12].”

What could push the Sooners and Cowboys to the Pac-12?

“At this point, we’re focused on the Big 12 going forward,” Hargis said before Oklahoma State’s game with, ironically, Pac-12 member Arizona. “I wouldn’t want to get into [the possibility of the Pac-12]. That’s a hypothetical and a hypothetical. It’s just not anything we’re real focused on right now.”

An Oklahoma State source told CBSSports.com that OSU would not sue Texas A&M or the SEC if Texas A&M left.

Since Texas A&M announced it was leaving the Big 12, Baylor President Ken Starr threatened to sue the SEC and Commissioner Mike Slive for tortious interference. The SEC released a statement before Starr's threat. It read in part:

“After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on Sept. 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC. We were notified [Tuesday] afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action.”

Hargis said he didn’t believe the SEC thought the conference could waive the rights of the individual institutions.

“Only the regents can waive [legal] claims of the university,” Hargis said. “The conference can’t do it, the presidents can’t do it. I think as far as conference was concerned there was no intention to take any action.”

Hargis said he wasn’t aware of a timetable when this all gets resolved. Oklahoma President David Boren estimated it would take less than three weeks.

“We’d all like to resolve it that fast but I don’t know a timetable,” Hargis said. “There’s no big rush. Everyone has to work through and get their conditions on the table and move forward.

“We have 10 really good schools. We had a close call with A&M. All of us wanted them to stay. The only ones that didn’t want them to stay was A&M, which is kind of a critical point. But hopefully maybe this event will give everyone time to take a deep breath.”



Posted on: September 7, 2011 6:56 pm
 

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes

If the Big 12 implodes next season by Texas A&M leaving for the SEC and more Big 12 teams leaving for other leagues, it would open up a BCSbowl spot for an at-large team but also would have an even greater impact on the bowl system.

"If the Big 12 isn't around next year, I can sum up the bowl system in one word: chaos," a college football industry source told CBSSports.com.

The Fiesta Bowl gets the Big 12 champion, if it doesn’t finish among the top two in the final BCS standings, as its "anchor" team. However without a Big 12 Conference, the Fiesta would be left to choose two at-large teams.

But it wouldn't be that simple. A major question would be when would the Fiesta Bowl get its first pick of at-large teams? The BCS by-laws are currently set up so that the five bowls – BCS, Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar – have a set rotation each year to fill their bowls. Without a Big 12 champion would the Fiesta Bowl get the first at-large pick overall or have to wait until the last pick?

Bowl sources said that could be a major issue since the BCS certainly couldn’t have predicted the Big 12 might not be around when the current BCS contract expires after the January 2014 games.

“We’re in close contact with our partners and are monitoring developments,” a Fiesta Bowl spokesperson said Wednesday. “We are not going to speculate on rumors related to the Big 12 Conference or anyone else for that matter.”

BCS executive director Bill Hancock also said Wednesday he does not discuss hypothetical situations.

Also, the BCS bowls can only take two teams from a conference, so that would increase the chances for non-AQ conference teams, such as Boise State, to secure an at-large BCS bowl bid.

A bigger – and more complex – issue that would impact one-fifth of the bowls would be what does the bowls with Big 12 tie-ins do for teams if there is no Big 12?

Besides the Fiesta, the Big 12 bowl lineup is Cotton, Alamo, Insight, Holiday, Texas and Pinstripe.

So the Cotton, instead of pairing the No. 2 team from the Big 12 against the No. 3 pick from the SEC, would have to wait until all of the other remaining bowls with existing contracts with the other 10 conferences choose their teams before it could fill that spot.

“What do you think will happen when [SEC commissioner] Mike Slive’s third-place team doesn’t have a quality opponent,” a source said.

The bowls all have specific contracts indicating a specific pick from a conference to play another specific pick from another conference.

But if that conference is the Big 12 and it doesn’t exist anymore, it would be nullify the bowl agreement and nullify the television contract, a source said.

“You’d be starting over," a source said. "It involves everyone. What are we going to do? Have a draft of teams? ESPN doesn’t want to broadcast Michigan vs. Fresno State, it wants to televise Michigan against a comparable BCS program.”

“If the Big 12 doesn't survive," said a college football industry source, “the bowl system will be a gigantic mess.”


Posted on: September 7, 2011 9:39 am
Edited on: September 7, 2011 11:46 am
 

Baylor puts Texas A&M move to SEC on hold

Five days ago, the Big 12 institutions agreed received “written assurance” from the Big 12 that the SEC could add Texas A&M without any legal issues. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to expansion: Baylor has changed its mind and has the SEC, at least for now, in a holding pattern.

Consequently, Texas A&M officials are left in a wait-and-see mode, releasing a statement from school president R. Bowen Loftin.

"We are certainly pleased with the action taken last night by the presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference to unanimously accept Texas A&M as the league’s 13th member. However, this acceptance is conditional, and we are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in Big 12 Conference. These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on Sept. 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC."

Can Baylor’s threat of a lawsuit really keep Texas A&M out of the SEC? Baylor's Bad News Bears is going to stop the Big 12 from crumbling? Stay tuned.

Here’s the SEC’s official statement from Florida President Dr. Bernie Machen, Chair of the SEC’s Presidents and Chancellors.

“After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC,” Machen said. “We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action.

“The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure.  The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011.”





Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 5, 2011 10:07 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 12:57 am
 

ACC commissioner refutes Texas to ACC report

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Atlantic Coast Commissioner John Swofford shot down a report Monday night that his league was considering adding Texas, Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers.

“I need to read more to see what we’re doing,” Swofford said laughing. “That’s news to me.”

Orangebloods.com quoted a source Monday night that the ACC, trying to fend off a potential raid by the SEC – who might take Virginia Tech – would look to add Texas along with Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers for a 16-team league. Swofford spoke to reporters from CBSSports.com, SI.com and the New York Post at halftime of the Miami-Maryland game.

“I think we see a lot of things that are written, blogged and speculated about right now,” Swofford said. “We’re not at a point at doing anything from a conference standpoint other than a lot of discussion, analysis and seeing what the landscape may hold moving forward. That’s way beyond any type of discussion we’ve had.”

The ACC’s current media rights deal is split evenly among all members. If, hypothetically the ACC added Texas, the Longhorns would bring their Longhorn Network and earn more than the other ACC members.

Swofford said equal revenue sharing among ACC members “has been a very strong principle of our league since the middle ‘80s.”

“I was AD in this league when we went to that fundamental principle and it’s been a very strong one ever since then,” Swofford said. “I think that it’s one that has a lot to do with the stability of conferences, just fundamentally.”

Swofford also was asked about the, uh, colorful helmets Maryland debuted on Monday night.

“They’re unique,” Swofford said. “And I think they’re appropriate for the state of Maryland with the flag and wearing the state colors for a state university.”


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com