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'Excellent match'

Syracuse not ready to make decision after fruitful ACC visit

Posted: Wednesday June 04, 2003 7:07 PM

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Syracuse would be "an excellent match" for the Atlantic Coast Conference, ACC officials said Wednesday following a two-day visit to the upstate New York campus.

Syracuse Athletic Director Jake Crouthamel, meanwhile, called the visit "fruitful" and "encouraging" but said Syracuse is not ready to make a decision on leaving the Big East.

"Decisions still have to be made. There is still a process to be completed," Crouthamel said. "Until that time, we are still in the process of evaluation."

The ACC voted last month to invite Miami, Boston College and Syracuse to begin formal discussions on joining their nine-team league. The ACC wants to re-create itself as a 12-team "superconference," which would allow it to add a lucrative football title game.

ACC delegations previously visited Miami and Boston College.

On Wednesday, a nine-member team led by ACC Commissioner John Swofford concluded its visits with a day of meetings with Syracuse coaches, athletic department officials and key administrators, presentations and tours of the university's athletic facilities.

The next step will be for the presidents of the ACC's current schools to convene, probably via conference call, to hear reports about each of the three sites by a faculty representative who participated in the visit, Swofford said.

There will be additional conversations between the ACC school presidents and those at Syracuse, Boston College and Miami, and ultimately a vote will be held, Swofford said.

A final decision should be made by the end of June, he said.

"What we found, both in terms of athletics and academics, is that Syracuse certainly would be an excellent match with our current institutions in the Atlantic Coast Conference," Swofford said.

The ACC delegation had high praise for Syracuse -- a founding member of the Big East.

Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow said she was impressed with Syracuse's graduation rate in football and the university's academic support and compliance units.

"The prevailing thought was that the visit was a very productive one and the athletic program was very impressive," Yow said.

ACC and Syracuse officials discussed a number of issues, including how the potential divisions might be divided, scheduling and travel policies, financial implications, compliance issues, academic standards and other student-welfare issues.

Syracuse athletic director Jake Crouthamel said the two sides discussed the ACC's revenue-sharing plan with the visiting committee. The ACC plan differs significantly from the incentive-based Big East plan.

"We have to our satisfaction the information. We just haven't had time to evaluate it," Crouthamel said.

Swofford said the visit did not resolve all the issues raised. He said some issues -- such as division break-up -- really can only be resolved if and when the conference is expanded.

"Any time you take a step like this there has to be a certain leap of faith involved," he said. "You can't necessarily have all the answers. Sometimes the risk of staying as you are is just as great as the change being considered."

Swofford renewed his declaration that the ACC was not out to ruin the Big East but was only acting to ensure its own future stability. He noted that over the last decade there have been more than 30 changes in conference membership around the country.

"I think what we are looking at is a continuing evolvement of the change in the landscape of the conferences," he said. "The landscape will change whether we are part of it or not."


 
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