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ACC playing defense: sore feelings about the Atlantic Coast Conference's expansion plans. (In The News).

The Atlantic Coast Conference may have a few more members this month, among them, the U of Miami and Virginia Tech. Then again, these schools--the source of much controversy in early summer--may still be nestled comfortably among the members of the Big East Conference.

At press time it wasn't clear if Virginia Tech and Miami would accept the ACC's invitation. The nine presidents who represent the ACC schools held a conference call late in June and voted to invite these two Big East schools to join their conference. It was a somewhat surprising move, considering there was previous talk that Boston College and Syracuse might also join the ACC. Also surprising was the invitation extended to Virginia Tech; until the eleventh hour, Virginia Tech was not coveted by the ACC.

College athletics is big business, which is why the ACC has been attracting such attention--and lawsuits. Trouble is, those nine presidents have had problems seeing eye to eye. The deciding vote was originally scheduled for early June, then delayed.

Given that the ACC began crafting a strategic growth plan two years ago, it would seem a vote to grow would be a no-brainer. Did the ensuing controversy about luring schools to the ACC from the Big East give the presidents a case of cold feet? It might seem so. In a letter to James Barker, president of ACC school Clemson (SC), James Moeser, the chancellor of U of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, stated that he's had reservations art along about expanding the ACC and acknowledged he was one of the obvious "no" votes. In the letter, he worried about the expanded travel schedule of the student athletes and questioned whether the assumed fiscal gains credited to ACC expansion would be realized.

"It is a fact that the television contract for the football Bowl Championship Series will expire and have to be re-negotiated by 2005," Moeser said. "It is conjecture whether the BCS will continue in its present form and, if so, which conferences will remain at the table. Or it might be replaced by some sort of championship play-off. Big dollars are at stake in any scenario, but the projections of huge new television contracts and income from football championships are merely that--projections."

Then, too, there's the pesky lawsuit that some Big East schools slapped on the ACC, claiming the ACC had covert plans to filch schools. Seems U of Connecticut, West Virginia U, Duke, Rutgers, and the U of Pittsburgh don't want to lose their Big East brethren, nor the investments they've made in their sports franchises.
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Author:Angelo, Jean Marie
Publication:University Business
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:427
Previous Article:From financial captivity, to freedom: UMKC is reinventing itself as a quantum university. First order of business: culture change. (Viewpoint).
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