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The additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC will cause some major changes to the conference's basketball schedule, the ACC announced on Friday. Starting in 2012/13, teams will play an 18-game schedule, up from 16 games. Each school will have one "primary" partner that they will play twice every year, and the other ones will rotate.
The scheduling model will be based on a three-year cycle during which teams will play every league opponent at least once with the primary partners playing home and away annually while the other 12 rotate in groups of four: one year both home and away; one year at home only; and one year away only. Over the course of the three-year cycle primary partners play a total of six times and all other conference opponents play four times.
Maryland's primary partner will be Pittsburgh, according to the release.
When the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers eventually join the ACC, the only question remaining was how it would alter the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions for football. Turns out, it won't change much and the two will just be split between them, Syracuse to the Atlantic and Pitt to the Coastal.
"The Atlantic and Coastal divisions will remain the same with Syracuse joining the Atlantic and Pitt joining the Coastal. The current primary crossover partners will remain consistent with Syracuse and Pitt becoming primary crossover partners with each other.
When Pitt and Syracuse join the ACC, the league will play a nine-game conference schedule. The format will consist of each team playing all six in its division each year, plus its primary crossover partner each year and two rotating opponents from the opposite division. This six-year cycle allows each team to play each divisional opponent and its primary crossover partner six times (three home and three away) while also playing each rotating crossover opponent two times (one home and one away)."
Here are the new divisions:
The move works out for both new schools as they get to keep playing one another and both get the crossover partner they wanted.
For Maryland, Syracuse presents another Northeastern rival and one that has a little bit of history between them. Some Syracuse fans have been waiting for the chance to play Maryland more often for some time now.
The Big East has a 27-month exit plan for schools that decide to leave for a new conference, meaning that any team that decides to leave them for a new home has to wait for two years to join their new digs after deciding to leave. The idea behind it is that it gives the Big East plenty of time to find new members to replace those who are about to leave. But it doesn't make a lot of sense in this current climate where conference realignment is a lightning fast climate.
As a result, it turns out that Pittsburgh and Syracuse might not have to wait out the full sentence before leaving for the ACC. According to Jack Lambert of The Business Journal, Pittsburgh and Syracuse may be allowed to join the ACC before 2014, when their 27-month mandate would be lifted.
(Maryland AD Kevin) Anderson said on Wednesday that he does not envision the process taking the full 27 months. He said the Big East has asked both Pittsburgh and Syracuse to stop coming to conference meetings and that the conference has signaled to their partners that “the transition could be sooner.”
Like I said it makes very little sense that the Big East would hold Pitt and 'Cuse hostage for so long, especially if the relationship is already this frosty. An early move would benefit every party involved. Pitt and Syracuse get to make the moves they want to make, The ACC gets their two new teams and the Big East can get moving on their future faster. This seems like a no-brainer to me.
There may still be other developments in the dynamic roller-coaster that has been NCAA conference realignment, but it appears as if the ACC has seen the last of its major changes in terms of adding or subtracting schools. In a phone interview with the Associated Press, commissioner John Swofford talked about future expansion, scheduling and the league's television deal.
On the subject of expanding to 16 teams, Swofford hinted that it would not happen in the near future. The ACC, of course, recently expanded to 14 teams with the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
"If there are (expansion) opportunities that present themselves, we'll see," Swofford said. "All of this continues to evolve. But for people to think that we went to 14 to get to 16, that simply would not be an accurate assessment."
Not only will you not see a 16-team ACC in the near future, it's not yet clear when Pitt and Syracuse will formally make the jump from the Big East. Big East bylaws stipulate that teams must give a 27-month notice and pay a $5 million exit fee before jumping ship. Unless the Big East allows the schools to leave a bit earlier, that would put the schools in the awkward position of joining the ACC sometime in the middle of the 2013-2014 sports calendar cycle.
Since conference realignment seems to be driven primarily by financial motives, the biggest topic of the interview was what the conference's plans were to renegotiate its contract with ESPN. Swofford explained that the process had already begun.
The commissioner said the ACC and ESPN had informally discussed changes to the existing TV deal before starting negotiations last weekend following last month's decision to add Syracuse and Pittsburgh from the Big East. This year, the ACC and ESPN began a 12-year deal worth $1.86 billion to give the network exclusive rights to conference football and men's basketball games.
Swofford wouldn't say how much the new TV deal could be worth.
"My only goal would be the preference of sooner rather than later," Swofford said of reaching a new deal. "We're negotiating with a current partner that we know well and are already well-engaged with."
What Swofford means by 'sooner rather than later' is hard to say. But because of the nature of how scheduling is handled in both basketball and football, one might assume that the negotiations will heat up in the latter parts of 2011 and extending into 2012.
As always, stay tuned for more news and updates about the ACC's expansion as it becomes available.
The ACC is expanding; it has already added Pitt and Syracuse and there are constantly rumors of even more realignment. The Conference is adding more big name programs and that means increased visibility. That's the good news.
The bad news is that with a bigger conference comes a larger conference schedule, and that may mean having to ditch some of the programs traditional non-conference games. According to Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times, Maryland may not be able to play in the BB&T Classic if the Conference schedule expands.
“The only thing I’m concerned of, and I don’t want to sound negative, is we’re probably going to go to an 18-game league schedule and then you want to be a part of an exempt tournament and then you’re part of the Big Ten/ACC deal,” Turgeon said. “You really have to look hard at it. I’d love to stay in it and help, but it’s got to be what’s best for Maryland basketball in the end.”
The issue is that if the ACC adds two more conference games, including one on the road, it would take away from the total amount of home games the program would have the ability to schedule. Those, of course, are the ones that make money for the department. So instead of playing in a tournament like the BB&T that is on a neutral court, the program may opt to play another game at home instead to generate more revenue.
TCU's decision to bolt the Big East for the Big 12 has many implications on conference realignment all across the country. One such case involves Navy, who has been in discussions to join the Big East, but has not jumped yet because it is hoping the conference stabilizes itself. After the latest news of TCU leaving, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said he received a call from the Big East about its membership.
Via Gene Wang of the Washington Post:
"As I said from the beginning, our position remains comfortable as an independent," Gladchuk said. "We’ve had discussions with the Big East about possible membership. There is no timetable or sense of urgency on our part. We asked the Big East to stabilize. Obviously this is a step back for them."
Gladchuk also said that the Big East has "got to figure out how to right the ship." Sounds like we'll have to wait on Navy possibly joining the conference.
The conference realignment wheel keeps spinning. TCU was scheduled to join the Big East Conference starting next summer, but with all the upheaval in that conference, they will reportedly join the Big 12 instead. Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports has the report:
TCU has been invited to join the Big 12 Conference and will accept the offer for the 2012-13 school year, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.
Multiple TCU sources told CBSSports.com "it's a done deal."
This is a huge blow for the Big East, which was already hurting after the departures of Pitt and Syracuse. This might just spell doom for the one time proud conference, at least as we once knew it. This was pretty much a no-brainer move for TCU, who must have been disappointed at the state of the Big East and fearful of it's future.
It'll be interesting to see what effect this has on Georgetown, who has pledged its commitment to the Big East.
We'll have more on this move and every resulting move in this StoryStream.
Was Navy close to joining the Big East? A report indicates the school was considering joining as a football-only institution before Syracuse and Pittsburgh left for the ACC.
When Georgetown lost two of it's Basketball rivals in Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC this weekend, a lot of questions were raised about the future of the Big East and if it included Georgetown basketball. The athletics department just released a statement, and it appears as though they are sticking by the Big East.
Lee Reed, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics "As a founding member of the BIG EAST in 1979, we have confronted challenging moments in the past and we are confident that as we work through the events of the past days we will maintain the high quality of the BIG EAST Conference. . .We are fully engaged with the leadership of the University and are confident that the BIG EAST Conference is being proactive during this period of change in college athletics.
Georgetown is probably sticking by the Big East because it would be harder for them to join another conference than it would for other teams because they don't have a football program that the ACC or the SEC would covet. The Big East (a basketball conference first, second and third) is their best bet to stay in what hopefully remains a big time conference. Here are thoughts form Coach Thompson.
"If you look at our history, the Big East has undergone changes in the past, be it subtractions or additions, and we've always emerged with quality teams that compete for and win championships."
West Virginia is the latest Big East team that has interest in leaving the COnference, but according to Brett McMurphy, they have not had the success of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. West Virginia has been denied by not one but two conferences.
Multiple Big East sources said they have been told by WVU officials that WVU rejected by ACC & SEC
This comes as a bit of a surprise because it was widly assumed that West Virginia would be the next team to bolt the Big East. I think most people assumed they would go to the SEC, so the fact that they applied to two conferences really shows just how desperate they are to get out of their Conference. But for some reason, they may be forced to stay there.
The ACC added two new schools over the weekend in Pittsburgh and Syracuse, but the expansion might not end there. They now stand at 14, but there is increasing speculation that they will continue to expand and might go to a 16 team "super conference." According to Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun, Maryland is one of the schools that hopes they bring in two more teams.
Maryland and Duke are among those privately expressing interest in a 16-team conference, according to ACC-member representatives with knowledge of recent private discussions. According to the representatives, other ACC schools also favor moving to 16 but at least one unnamed member was against expansion.
The article continues to name Connecticut as a possible addition, but also notes that there are some schools in the Conference that might not be willing to accept the Huskies. hard to believe that there are schools that wouldn't want to let the reigning National Champions in Men's basketball.
Whatever the speculation may be, I think it's very clear that this expansion talk is no where near done. We should be hearing even more about it soon, I would imagine.
Reaction continues to roll in from the changing tides of conference expansion now that Syracuse and Pittsburgh have joined the ACC. One person who supports the ACC move is Duke University Men's Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski. In an ESPN.com article, Coach K expresses pride in the ACC for being proactive in a changing conference landscape.
"We're in a period of change. Whether everyone agrees with it or doesn't agree with it -- change is happening. It's not a revolution, it's evolution. These things are happening."
The Duke and U.S. Olympic basketball coach continued with comments comparing previous changes in the sports world.
The NBA had the ABA. The NFL had the AFL. There was once no BCS. The NIT was once better than the NCAA (tournament). When it happens while you're doing it, it seems like it shouldn't happen, but it is. I think the leadership in our conference is doing a great job of getting ahead. It's good thinking, especially if everything goes down with these two schools that have great athletic programs. They are unbelievable fits for our conference.
Jason Reid of the Washington Post expressed similar sentiment. Reid does point out the slimy nature of the backroom conference dealings.
Although clearly ruthless and predatory, the ACC is rolling the right way under the circumstances. The current climate in college sports basically is to eat or be eaten, so the ACC is choosing self-preservation.
It has been a wild and wacky weekend in college sports, as realignment fever has swept the nation. Fresh off of news Syracuse and Pittsburgh would be exiting the Big East and joining the ACC comes a report that the University of Connecticut understandably does not want to be left out of this realignment party. Via intrepid ESPN.com reporter Andy Katz:
UConn president Susan Herbst is aggressively pursuing membership in the ACC to become the 15th or 16th member institution in the conference, according to a source with direct knowledge of UConn's situation.
Herbst is obviously hoping ACC Commish John Swafford would like to bump his now-14 team conference to a 16 team superconference, with UConn and another conference defector being the final two pieces to the ACC realignment puzzle. The problem for UConn, and Herbst must know this, is that Boston College most certainly does not want the Huskies joining the ACC and will most likely do whatever it takes to block UConn's inclusion.
The crew at Casual Hoya fired a brilliant, if depressing, explanation of what the ACC expansion means to Georgetown University. In short, Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the ACC is not good for the Hoyas.
Let me begin by saying that there is no way to understate the enormity of how badly Georgetown will be impacted by Syracuse and Pittsburgh joining the ACC.
The options for Georgetown and the Big East range from utter collapse to adding teams with no regard to geography or academics. As the Big 12 slowly dissolves, teams from that league will be left homeless. The Big East could add Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas and Kansas State. Georgetown playing Kansas once a year would have some cache, though hardly replace the storied Hoyas-Cuse rivalry. In addition to Big 12 castoffs, the Big East could reach out to Temple and Memphis. Both are schools with football and basketball and large television markets that would jump to the Big East in a second.
Other options include begging the ACC for basketball only membership or the creation of an all-catholic basketball league. While there are quality basketball teams in that scenario, like St. Johns and Villanova, the loss of large schools will impact any potential television contracts.
Though the Hoyas should remain a strong contender in hoops, the lack of a BCS level football team and inadequate on-campus athletic facilities will be tough to overcome if the nuclear bomb of college athletics truly hits with the introduction of 16 team super-conferences.
Now that the ACC expansion is official, various high-level administrators provided commentary on the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the conference. Kevin Anderson, the Maryland AD, delivered a statement on the conference's move to 14 teams.
"We already compete against Pitt and Syracuse in a number of our sports and have appreciated the quality and sportsmanship of those teams," Anderson said. "These two institutions are a great fit for the league based on the quality of the athletics programs and based on the quality of their academic reputations."
Anderson went on to mention the financial advantages of adding the Pittsburgh and Syracuse markets and fan bases. In perhaps his most telling line, Anderson said the ACC "would encourage a future expansion." Rumors continue to swirl as to who that future expansion could include.
Since Anderson took over as AD from the departed Debbie Yow, he has been thrust into many significant decisions. Beyond the expansion, Anderson also engineered the removal of former football coach Ralph Friedgen and hired Mark Turgeon as mens basketball coach after the retirement of Gary Williams.
University of Maryland President Dr. Wallace Loh issued a news release supporting the move as well.
Today, we welcome two distinguished universities - Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh - that are a very good fit with our conference.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford offered insight to the business side of the decision in a press release.
"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," Swofford said. " With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States."
It's now official: Syracuse and Pittsburgh will both leave the Big East and join the Atlantic Coast Conference. ACC commissioner John Swofford announced the news on a telephone conference early Sunday morning, saying the vote was unanimous among the existing ACC schools.
The rest of the call was fairly non-dramatic, except for two potential things. One is that Swofford said there's a chance the ACC basketball tournament would occasionally move to Madison Square Garden, which is where the Big East tournament currently takes place. If that happens, it would be a major blow to the Big East, which already suffered through a major blow by losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
In addition, Swofford made it seem like Texas was not coming either, saying the current ACC's system of sharing TV revenue is "sacred." That would ostensibly rule out Texas and the Longhorn Network.
Not only do Pittsburgh and Syracuse appear headed to the ACC, but it appears the final decision will come quickly. Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reports that the ACC could vote to accept the two schools as soon as Sunday.
Source: ACC presidents could vote to accept Syracuse and Pitt as early as Sunday. It'll be a formality. 'It's done,' the source said.
If that were to happen, they would begin play in all sports starting in 2012. The decision appears to have happened unbelievably quickly, especially given the other conference realignment rumors that we've heard of recently.
As of this time, it does not appear that anyone has major objections to the move. As far as conference realignment goes, it seems like a win/win.
Though nobody will make an official comment, the genie is way out of the bottle on the possible ACC addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Reaction has come from far and wide to news that Pete Thamel initially broke for the New York Times.
Pittsburgh blog Cardiac Hill weighed in on the expansion in a primarily positive light.
I wholeheartedly think that this is the right move should an offer from the ACC come to Pittsburgh. Pitt is in top-25 media market, one of the top public universities in the nation, has a football program on the rise, and a top-notch basketball team while remaining solid in non-revenue sports.
The folks from Syracuse didn't see things quite the same way. From Troy Nunes Is an Absolute Magician:
At the end of the day, if this happens, the Big East has no one to blame but themselves. Too many years waiting on the sidelines and too many missed opportunities to solidify the league.
Sentiment from many places the blame on Cuse and Pitt coming to the ACC on Big East Commissioner John Marinatto for falling asleep at the wheel. The conference realignment highway slows for nobody, and rumor is that Marinatto found out the news while sitting in the press box of the Maryland-West Virginia game.
The local impact of the move will be interesting, and we already covered what it means for the Terps. One casualty of the proposed move is the Georgetown Syracuse basketball rivalry. Casual Hoya seems defeated by inevitability of the whole superconference trend, and without major football, it appears the Hoyas might not have Saxa (get it?) with Cuse for a while.
So, conference expansion news about Syracuse and Pittsburgh joining the ACC has leaked, and responses are coming from everywhere. Here is former Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn's take:
Syracuse to the ACC? Cmon this is getting out of hand now. The thought of that is out of hand
Conference realignment reached the ACC on Saturday, as Pittsburgh and Syracuse have reportedly submitted applications to leave the Big East and join the ACC.