NCAA stays on the Fence

The site visits that the Atlantic Coast Conference bylaws require have started. ACC officials are visiting Miami (FL), Syracuse and Boston College. Any formal invitation for these schools to join the ACC would come after the committees make a recommendation to conference presidents.

Miami football coach Larry Coker indicated that the process could move very quickly after these ACC visits.

Meanwhile the NCAA is sitting on the fence in this fight between the ACC and the Big East.

NCAA President Myles Brand said recently that he has not talked with Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese or ACC Commissioner John Swofford and intends to let the schools and the conferences make their own decisions.

It amazes me that the NCAA, which over the years has stuck its nose in to everything imaginable in college athletics, is keeping its big nose out of this.

The NCAA stance proves Bob Knight was right on the money in his assessment of his former boss at Indiana, Myles Brand is a lightweight.

The NCAA is afraid of the members of the Bowl Championship Series, who are driving a wedge between themselves and other division I A schools.

This exodus by the three Big East schools to the ACC is going to have far reaching ramifications and is not in the best interests of quite a few schools. The NCAA is supposed to look out for the best interests of all its member schools, not just a selected few.

Nine senators from states with Big East schools feeling victimized by the ACC-Big East fracas, sent letters Wednesday asking Miami, Boston College and Syracuse not to move to the ACC.

They rightfully point out that the defection would devastate the Big East and erode the progress being made in women's sports and may trigger more cuts because of Title IX.

But the NCAA chooses to sit on the fence and remain neutral.

The driving force behind this ACC move is greed. The ACC wants to become a 12-team league that would expand its market and reap more television revenue. Initially the move was considered because the ACC wanted 12-teams so it could divide into two divisions and play a conference championship game in football, thus reaping big money from gate receipts and a big TV contract for the championship game.

The NCAA rule, which prohibits a conference from having a championship game in football unless you have 12 teams, was the driving force behind the ACC's looting of the Big East. Some schools like North Carolina think expansion will hurt the basketball side of the ACC.

It's time for the NCAA to get involved - too much is at stake here. The first thing that should be done is rescinding the rule that a conference needs 12 teams to have a championship game. Make it eight. If this had been done earlier we might have avoided this drive to expand, that has opened Pandora‘s box.

Unfortunately the NCAA is a paper tiger and will sit on the sidelines by while the Big East crashes and burns.

George Von Benko

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