Tag:ACC
Posted on: October 6, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 5:43 pm
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Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

When news broke Thursday that TCU was joining the Big 12 Conference instead of the Big East, it was just another domino in the latest craze sweeping across America: Conference realignment!

Another piece that might be teetering: Notre Dame.

For the Big East, losing TCU is another sucker punch to the groin or -- as Illinois’ Jonathan Brown prefers -- a knee to the groin.

Sure technically the Big East never really had TCU since the Horned Frogs weren’t officially joining the league until July 1, 2012, but the loss of what could have been is even more devastating for the Big East.

In the matter of weeks, the Big East has lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and now TCU to the Big 12. And if Missouri leaves for the SEC, sources have told CBSSports.com the Big 12 will likely add three more schools to get to 12 members. At the top of that list, sources said, is Louisville, along with a combination of BYU, West Virginia, Cincinnati or Tulane.

Losing Louisville and West Virginia or Cincinnati would likely be a fatal blow to the Big East's football BCS status. As damaging as these defections are to the Big East, it could have an even greater impact on the behemoth of college football.

Even before man invented fire, the Fighting Irish’s football program has been an independent. And Notre Dame plans on staying an independent until the galaxy explodes -- or until the Big East implodes -- whichever happens first.

So while the Big East’s pulse continues to weaken, Notre Dame could be forced to join a conference. The Fighting Irish have enjoyed the benefit of remaining a football independent, while their non-football sports competed in the Big East. Those days could be numbered.

"Certainly the factors that have contributed to the larger conference realignment continue to exist," Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick told the Associated Press on Wednesday, a day before the news about TCU leaving to the Big 12. "And we’re doing the same thing we’ve done throughout, monitoring them closely, and hoping that the Big East stays a vibrant and successful partner for us."

But if there’s no Big East, then Notre Dame becomes the Holy Grail of college football. The Big 12, the Big Ten, the ACC and the SEC would add the Fighting Irish yesterday. Heck, even the Pac-12’s Larry Scott would find a way to bring the Irish on board if he could.

I’ve maintained that as long as Notre Dame has a conference home to put its non-football or Olympic sports (men’s basketball, women’s basketball, etc.) in it will never join a conference. But things are about to get interesting for Notre Dame.

If the Big East no longer exists, Notre Dame will have two options: Join the Big 12/Big Ten/ACC/SEC as a full member or stay independent in football and join one of those conferences with its non-football sports.

It will depend on how bad Notre Dame cherishes its football independence, because I’m sure one of those four conferences would prefer Notre Dame as a non-football member (and the guarantee of Notre Dame being on those future football schedules) to having Notre Dame in another league.

Before TCU and the Big 12’s announcement on Thursday, Swarbrick said Wednesday Notre Dame needed to continue to support the league.

"They’re [the Big East] working on additions," he said. "You got to wait until the whole picture is shaped to really have a feel for it, for what that option is like. Just continue to support them and be involved in their planning and hope they wind up in a great place.

"It's great to make plans. It’s whether the people you might be interested in or the circumstances will allow you to achieve those plans. But certainly the way the conference is thinking and what it’s trying to achieve are consistent with what I think it needs to do."

That was Swarbrick’s view Wednesday. That all changed Thursday with TCU headed to the Big 12 and there are likely more changes ahead. The question remains: will it be enough to force Notre Dame to give up its independence?


Posted on: September 20, 2011 5:53 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 9:47 pm
 

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

Before the sudden news broke last weekend that Pittsburgh and Syracuse were leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East was in the final stages of acquiring Navy as a football-only member.

No official invitation was extended by the league, but both parties had extensive discussions about Navy joining the league in football only and it very well could have happened in the next couple of weeks, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

Besides Navy, the Big East also was targeting Air Force and league sources felt confident both schools would have been Big East members, perhaps within the next year – that is until Pitt and Syracuse announced they were leaving for the ACC.

“Navy is one of the most special things out there, prestige,” said an administrator who would benefit from Navy being in a BCS league. 

“I don't see why Air Force doesn’t fit in a BCS league,” said the same person. “Class, class, class.”

However, with the Big East’s future now in limbo, it’s uncertain if Navy and/or Air Force will remain interested in joining either a Big East without Pitt and Syracuse or a merger of leftover teams from the Big East and Big 12 conferences. That is, in fact, if the Big 12 loses Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech to the Pac-12.

Navy is one of four independents with Army, Notre Dame and BYU, but doesn’t enjoy the automatic qualifying BCS access that Notre Dame does. Navy is in solid shape now with its own television deal, but with the division growing by the second between the automatic qualifying BCS leagues and non-AQ BCS leagues, Navy might feel it has better long-term security in an AQ BCS league.

“There were discussions and dialogues on a number of issues,” said an individual with knowledge of the talks between Navy and the Big East. “The question now is: what is the Big East going to look like in the future? How do they right the ship? I don’t think they even know that.”

Meanwhile, Tuesday night in New York, the league’s presidents and athletic directors from Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida, TCU and West Virginia will meet with Big East commissioner John Marinatto to discuss the league’s future.

The meeting is for the league’s decision makers to gather face-to-face and see who wants to be a part of the Big East’s future.

“If they don’t want to be in the league, then they should make their intentions known and leave,” said one league official.

Also on Monday officials from Big East schools and the Big 12 schools proposed meeting Wednesday in Chicago to discuss the possible merger between the conferences. However, it was decided that meeting would that not be held because of legal issues involving both leagues.

UConn and Rutgers have been reported as possible candidates to the ACC, while West Virginia targeted the ACC or SEC, but was notified that neither league was interested.


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 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.”


Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 1:36 pm
 

Emmert: no conference realignment summit

After NCAA president Mark Emmert read erroneous media reports that he planned to have a summit on conference realignment, he emailed several officials throughout intercollegiate athletics to clarify no meetings would take place.

CBSSports.com obtained the document Emmert sent out.

"I have been and will continue to engage individual presidents and commissioners about the reform effort that was launched last week as part of the Division I presidential retreat," Emmert wrote. "In that context, all constituents have been involved in meaningful discussion on how best to conduct our business, including conference realignments, in the best interests of student-athletes. Open and frank discussion is needed to ensure expected reforms are not derailed in any way. However, I have not proposed, nor do I have plans to propose a summit on conference realignment as recently reported by several media outlets. Such reports are simply in error."

Getting all the key players from the SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten, ACC and Big East conferences together to discuss conference realignment would seem like a good idea for the future of college athletics. But an NCAA spokesman said that was never a consideration.

"Conference affilations are the purview of the conferences not the NCAA," said Bob Williams, the NCAA's vice president of communications.

I asked Williams if there also were legal reasons why Emmert wouldn't meet with the BCS conference commissioners.

"Antitrust is always an issue," he said.

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