ACC fails in first attempt

ACC fails in first attempt to break up the Big East.

The conference call among 9 members of the ACC failed to reach a vote to admit Miami, Syracuse and Boston College into the ACC.

No details were given of the call but it is reported that more attempts will be made by those in support of expansion to gain the seven votes needed for approval. ACC Commissioner John Swofford is expected to address the failure to get approval with a major spin doctoring effort in the press.


A Tuesday afternoon conference call with presidents of the Atlantic Coast Conference yielded no decision on the addition of Miami, Boston College and Syracuse to the nine-team league. Officials at Duke and North Carolina have developed serious concerns about adding the three schools from the Big East, citing scheduling and travel concerns. Virginia was also on the fence, hoping to add Virginia Tech instead of Syracuse or Boston College. - ACC still trying to find solution in expansion talks


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner urged the NCAA or an outside mediator to intervene in the ACC expansion plan to try to avoid a long, expensive legal battle.

The state's "interests as a whole will be ensured" if both Virginia of the ACC and Virginia Tech of the Big East stay in major conferences, Warner said Tuesday.

NCAA president Myles Brand said his organization has no authority in such cases.

The NCAA, however, will provide whatever help it can, including third-party mediation if "an invitation to do so was forthcoming from all parties," he said.

The presidents and chancellors from the nine ACC schools held a conference call Tuesday afternoon, but no formal vote was taken to invite Miami, Boston College and Syracuse, commissioner John Swofford said in a statement.

Swofford said presidents from the Big East schools participated in part of the "constructive" call.

"There will be further discussions," Swofford said, "and as has been the case throughout this process, there is no definitive timetable."

New York Gov. George Pataki expressed his concern Tuesday about Syracuse leaving the Big East.

"Obviously, it's within the legal purview of a private university to choose whatever conference they choose to belong to," said Pataki, a visible supporter of Syracuse's basketball team during its run to the national championship this season. "But it (joining the ACC) does, to me, raise real concerns about college athletics."

The plan to invite Miami, Boston College and Syracuse to join the Atlantic Coast Conference had seemed likely to happen. But in the last week, it has hit several snags and now appears in jeopardy.

Officials at Duke and North Carolina now have serious concerns about adding the three Big East schools. The ACC needs the approval of seven of its nine schools.

Last Friday, five Big East schools sued Miami, Boston College and the ACC, contending the defection would ruin the Big East.

In a conference call Tuesday, representatives of the five schools that are suing spoke favorably of mediation and defended their lawsuit.

"We're in a position where events were moving very quickly," Pittsburgh president Mark Nordenberg said. "We faced the prospect of irreparable harm. We had a responsibility to protect our conference and its institutions and we took steps to do that."

Virginia Tech president Charles Steger called the lawsuit "a last resort" that highlighted the fact that the stakes are huge, especially for the school facing the prospect of being left in a weakened league.

Mediation, Nordenberg said, might yield "plans by which two conferences operate, coexist and become stronger in years ahead."


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