Report: Miami AD confirms interest in moving to ACCPosted: Sunday May 04, 2003 11:59 PM
Updated: Monday May 05, 2003 12:02 AM
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- Miami is exploring the possibility the moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference, athletic director Paul Dee confirmed.
Dee told The News-Press of Fort Myers he has spoken with ACC commissioner John Swofford as well as league athletic directors.
"The status is there are discussions and we're exploring possibilities, but there has been no real invitation or acceptance either way," Dee told the paper for Sunday's edition, his first public comments on the issue.
Dee said several school officials would give their opinion on staying or leaving the Big East, but the decision mainly would be made by himself and school president Donna Shalala.
If the ACC lured Miami, the conference likely would expand from nine to 12 schools and host a conference football championship, much like the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference.
Boston College and Syracuse are reportedly the leading candidates to join Miami since those schools would bring large television markets to a conference that currently only has one major media market in Washington, D.C. Seven of nine ACC schools must approve expansion. Several newspapers have reported that Swofford is one vote shy of gaining approval. Duke and North Carolina are against expansion.
Dee said it's unlikely Miami will join the conference next week, which has been reported.
Dee didn't rule out a decision happening in the next couple of months, but not Thursday, the 50th anniversary of the ACC.
"Absolutely untrue," Dee said. "Could something fall out of the sky between now and then? Maybe, but I doubt it. There is nothing we have to react to or anything by next Thursday."
Dee said there was no specific timetable.
"It depends on how serious we get about wanting to be a member and how serious they want to be about wanting to expand," he said. "We're just exploring and taking a very hard look at the Big East to see if there's not something we can do there. But by and large, we're just exploring things right now."
Dee made a presentation to the school's board of trustees April 25, discussing the pros and cons of leaving the Big East to join the ACC. Other comments were made by football coach Larry Coker and women's volleyball coach Nicole Lantagne Welsh.
"I'd like to play schools in the ACC, but we don't need to get in a conference to do that," Coker said Friday night. "I don't think being in the ACC is a big advantage to us. Then there would be the issue of Florida State. When we would play them, would we be in the same division, would we knock each other from the BCS."
Miami's discussions with the ACC have created unrest among some Big East officials and led to an angry outburst by Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese. In his only public comments on the matter, Tranghese criticized the ACC.
"I have no use for the ACC right now," Tranghese told the New York Daily News. "They're a bunch of hypocrites. They operate in the dark."
Syracuse athletic director Jake Crouthamel said Miami's decision would greatly affect any moves by other Big East schools.
"That's an understatement," he said. "They do control the future of the Big East in football. That's why the ACC is looking at them. If Miami leaves, it causes seven other schools to re-examine what they do. It's very significant.
"If you're taking the lead dog out of the football mix, it has a significant impact on the conference. It's a concern to everybody. Could we have a football conference? Yes. Would it be viable? No."