Mac McDonald On The Possiblity of ACC Expansion
May 12, 2003
DOES EXPANSION MEAN GROWTH?
Commentary by Mac McDonald, Voice of the Cavaliers
The Atlantic Coast Conference spring meetings are underway. The closed door sessions being held in Amelia Island, Florida for the nine member ACC schools are normally centered around television money, ratings, and scheduling. The league throws in a few golf rounds, a little tennis, and the coaches also meet to hammer out details of tv coverage and game rules. However this year…the buzz word is expansion.
For over 13 years the topic of ACC expansion…adding teams to one of the nation’s premier leagues…has surfaced periodically. When former commissioner Gene Corrigan put together the Florida State deal in 1991 and ’92 the rest of the college nation took notice. What FSU gave the ACC in football, the Seminole basketball program received in basketball. Credibility, money, a solid television deal…it was all a part of it and made terrific sense at the time. Now, with athletic budgets being tightened and athletic directors searching for “new revenue” expansion is one smooth road to travel.
“It makes sense…and especially for the future,” one former coach and athletic administrator told me. “If we are looking at five and ten years down the road, which we should be, then expansion is a must.”
Miami makes sense…and since the league would need 12 members, not just ten, the debate is truly over the other two. The NCAA makes it clear that a league has to have “six team divisions” not five. So….who do you like? Everyone has an opinion and since we are looking at the Big East, Boston College and Syracuse are the two likely candidates with Virginia Tech running a close third. With Syracuse and Boston College thrown into the Miami mix it appears you have great television markets which could add plenty of money to the ACC coffers. But a friend of mine told me the other day…and I loved the comment…that the ACC has built it’s reputation and strength in markets where ourschools are the only “game” in town. Schools like Clemson, Wake Forest, UNC, Duke and Virginia are perfect examples…so does a Boston College make sense…or do we add Virginia Tech?
A Miami source told me today the Hurricane basketball staff is excited about the possibility of joining the ACC. Larry Coker and the football guys are lukewarm, and the Miami athletes are “pretty neutral”.
UVA basketball coach Pete Gillen is all for it…saying tradition is wonderful but times change. Gary Williams, basketball coach at Maryland is also on the yes side, citing his belief in the ACC doing what is best.
Here is what we all need to understand. No formal vote will be cast this week at Amelia Island. Commissioner John Swofford has told the media he is unsure of the timetable. The nine ACC school presidents will vote eventually and seven of them have to vote yes for approval. If Miami is invited and chooses to join the ACC, the ‘Canes will have to notify the Big East by June 30th forscheduling issues pertaining to the 2004-05 season. One source told me the vote is already 6-2 in favor of expansion with NC State undecided.
It’s gonna happen….we just don’t know when.
ONE PROGRAM NOTE….FORMER COACH AND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR TERRY HOLLAND WILL APPEAR ON WINA, AM 1070 ,WEDNESDAY MORNING AT 9AM TO DISCUSS EXPANSION AND GIVE HIS OPINIONS ON WHAT THE ACC WILL DO. YOU CAN LOG ON AND LISTEN AT WWW.WINA.COM, OR LISTEN IN CHARLOTTESVILLE AT 1070AM.