ACC postpones expansion vote
by Mike Shalin
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Amid reports Virginia was ready to cast a negative vote that would kill expansion for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the current Big East survived for at least another day yesterday when an ACC conference call of its presidents failed to produce a vote that would allow the league to add Boston College, Miami and Syracuse.
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``The ACC Council of Presidents had a constructive call (yesterday) afternoon that was an integral part of the ongoing process,'' ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. ``On part of the call were the presidents from Boston College (Father William Leahy), the University of Miami and Syracuse University, as well as the nine ACC presidents.
``No conclusions were reached, nor were there any intended to be reached. There will be further discussion and, as has been the case throughout this process, there is no definitive timetable.''
After North Carolina and Duke said they would vote no because of many concerns with what conference growth would bring, Virginia was apparently set to follow those schools to make it a 6-3 vote with seven votes being needed for approval. Without the necessary votes, Swofford didn't want a vote taken.
Another teleconference will reportedly take place at 6 tonight, with signs pointing to a vote at that time.
One unconfirmed report had both Georgia Tech and Florida State stepping forward during the call, which apparently lasted 2-3 hours, and saying they'd leave the ACC if this expansion doesn't take place. There was also a report that the ACC members are battling over divisional alignments.
Syracuse spokesman Kevin Morrow, speaking for his school's hierarchy, called yesterday's call ``productive and very cordial.'' BC director of athletics Gene DeFilippo had nothing to report. ``I'm just sitting here waiting,'' he said.
Earlier in the day, Virginia governor Mark Warner asked for outside help in settling the dispute and reached out for NCAA president Myles Brand, who said the NCAA wouldn't step in but would provide a mediator to help resolve the differences. Warner said his state's ``interests as a whole will be ensured'' by the ACC and Big East remaining intact.
As far as mediation goes, the question remained - what was there really to mediate? One voice close to the proceedings said, ``This is unprecedented - people have left conferences all the time.''
The five Big East football schools that would be left behind held a teleconference yesterday to explain their lawsuit filed last week. Virginia Tech president Charles Steger called the suit ``a last resort.''
Meanwhile, one thing growing clearer each day is Miami president Donna Shalala's negative feelings toward Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, who blasted the ACC and Miami in his speech at the Big East meetings in Jacksonville, Fla. One Miami trustee, quoted anonymously in yesterday's Palm Beach Post, said Shalala told the trustees, ``If we stay with that conference (the Big East), it will be with a different commissioner.''