Hurricanes call timeout to study
new Big East playbook
[ Originally posted 06.27.03 ]
By The Associated Press
CORAL GABLES, FL The University of Miami said Thursday it
had received counterproposals from the Big East and would carefully consider
them before deciding whether to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Miami's 19-member executive committee of its board of trustees met with
Miami President Donna Shalala and athletic director Paul Dee for more than
an hour Thursday to discuss the ACC invitation. No vote was held during that
"The Big East has informally sent a proposal, or at least a list of
proposals, to us and we feel a responsibility to review them," said Shalala,
who said she was not ruling out any possibility -- including remaining in
the Big East.
Shalala said a final decision will be announced Monday. The University needs
to inform Big East officials before Monday of any decision to jump to the
ACC or have its penalty fee for leaving double to $2 million.
Shalala would not discuss specifics of any of the Big East proposals.
Earlier in the expansion process, the Big East had guaranteed Miami $45
million over five years to remain in their conference.
Big East spokesman John Paquette said he had no comment about Shalala's
claim of counterproposals.
Shalala and Dee were also asked by trustees to continue examining the
economic impact the move to an 11-team ACC would have on the university.
The ACC was seeking to expand to 12 teams, so it could add a conference
football championship game, one that would infuse at least $12 million
annually into the league's coffers. Without 12 teams -- the current minimum
for a championship game -- the financial projections could be changed
Miami and Virginia Tech received formal invitations Wednesday to join the
ACC. The Virginia Tech invite was a surprising twist because Miami, Boston
College and Syracuse were the schools the ACC had originally targeted for
"We had done numbers on Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami, we had done
numbers on Miami alone, but we had not anticipated that Virginia Tech and
Miami would be the only two invitees," Shalala said.
Boston College and Syracuse both went through required parts of the ACC
expansion process, including site visits, but were not extended invitations.
"I am deeply disappointed that Boston College and Syracuse were not invited
by the ACC," said Shalala, who said she would not ask the ACC to reconsider
inviting those two schools.
Rev. William Leahy, Boston College's president, spoke with Shalala on
"I think she is generally torn about what to do," he said.
Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo said he hopes his school
remains aligned with Miami.
"That's exciting that they have not decided anything yet," DeFilippo said.
"I hope they will feel that remaining in the Big East Conference is in their
Shalala also said the school still has to complete a study on how an 11-team
league would work schedule-wise. She said Miami has been told the majority
of ACC members prefer expanding to 12 teams but said she had not been
assured that such expansion would take place.
"There's a lot of aspects we have to look at in terms of how the schedules
would run in the conference, what it would mean for outside competition,
what it would mean in other ways," Dee said. "With 11, scheduling, at least
in the short term, would be fairly difficult."
Miami has been at the center of a six-week saga that has had ACC presidents
wrangling over a number of different scenarios to get enough votes for an
expansion that would add Miami and its powerhouse football program to the
Miami could join the ACC as early as the 2004-05 academic year if it
Virginia Tech officials have indicated they will accept the ACC's
invitation, meaning the Big East may have just one more season with both of
its top football draws as members. Miami won the 2001 national title and
played in the championship game again last season. Virginia Tech is a
perennial national championship contender.
The trustees' meeting came on the same day that a Connecticut judge heard
arguments about speeding up a lawsuit that four current Big East schools
have filed against Miami. Those schools Connecticut, Rutgers, West
Virginia and Pittsburgh -- contend they have spent millions of dollars on
their football programs based on presumed loyalty from the conference's
other members, including Miami.
"I'm not surprised we were sued," Shalala said. "Who sued us surprised me."
Originally, Miami and Boston College were the defendants in the case, and
Virginia Tech was among the plaintiffs.
But that changed this week when the ACC did not invite Boston College, which
was dropped as a defendant. Virginia Tech has excused itself as a plaintiff.
Syracuse never was a defendant because Big East attorneys contended that
only Boston College and Miami were engaged in secret discussions to ruin
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Boston College may
provide evidence critical to the case, now that the school is no longer a
candidate for ACC expansion.
"We're hoping their cooperation will shed light on some of the secret,
back-room discussions in this continuing conspiracy," he said.
Superior Court Judge Samuel J. Sferrazza said he would rule before Friday on
the request to expedite the trial.
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02/23/2007 10:36:45 AM