I place the blame squarely on MT's shoulders...I'm as pissed as the next guy about how this whole thing came about but in retrospect you have to ask yourself, can you really blame UM, VT, and BC for leaving?
The SU President admitted in an interview yesterday that the league knew for atleast 5 years that UM and ACC were talking but as you said MT assumed that it would never happen. Well after 5 years of seeing smoke he should've assumed there had to be fire. Its his job to advise the presidents, his advice has consistently been to maintain the status quo. Even in the face of all thats happened its my guess its was his advice to answer this fball problem with a bball heavy answer.
MT is obviously a man of influence within the BE, you don't keep a job for 20 years despite your performance, without it. It has always been his influence that conviced key members within the conference to stay aligned. He was always able to apply a band aid and convince everyone that UM wasn't going anywhere, while giving UM the perception that a split was coming in the near future.
Read these message boards, most fans believe that a split is going to happen in the near future although since the rebuilding process began you have never heard MT or any other BE decision maker even hint at it.
Think back to when UM and VT left, every administrator at every fball school talked about the need for a regional all sports conference, with a focus on developing fball. In three months that sentiment has changed to a bball dominated conference that expands to Wisconsin and Illinois. IMHO, that screams of MT's influence, and when it fails he will stand in front of us and tell us that he is shocked and surprised that, (you fill in the school), would undermine the leagues hard work in building this dream conference.
MT is a very smart man, he knows how highly the BE presidents think of him. Remember back on BE fball media day...when the conference split rumors were at there peak, MT stood in front of the world and announced that if the conference split he wouldn't go with either side, he would do the noble thing and retire. Since that announcement not one BE administrator talked about a split, atleast not in public. IMO, that was genius. You have two conferences about to approach the most critical period of its existence, the fball schools lost there two heavyweights, are in jeopardy of losing there BCS slot and its almost time to negotiate another TV contract. All of this and they're about to lose the only commissioner they've ever known. The bball schools are about to lose their cash cow in the fball schools and are in jeopardy of not only taking a back seat to the new all sports conference but also the growing A10, and they're going to lose the commissioner that built their league and lead them to their hey days.
My guess is he let both sides chew on that for a few days then he got them together and said, "look guys I'll get us out of this mess, but we do it my way." I know this is ALOT of speculation on my part but its funny that he will be the commissioner of this mess. His message was he'll leave if they split, the obvious flip side is he'll stay if they don't.
I agree that the Presidents and AD's have to accept some responsibility for whats happened, but MT is the man steering this ship.
NJfan23, you are badly misinformed. Your speculation is wild & shows no understanding of how the dynamics of the relationships among university presidents & a conference commissioner actually work in the real world. The university presidents dropped the ball here & no one else is to blame.