Here’s something to think about heading into the weekend.
When the ACC expanded, it was not a unified decision by the members. To the point that Virginia and the state politics became the swing vote to get expansion done.
As you may recall, the original plan by the ACC was for Miami, BC and Syracuse. This was because Miami wanted to have connections to Boston and NYC where they had strong alumni bases. The problem was that there was significant disagreement within the ACC over this. Miami was problematic enough, but those two schools to the north seemed too far out. There didn’t seem to be the votes for all three.
There was a lot of scrambling and the Virginia legislature was in turmoil and lots of VT pressure was brought on them and the Virginia Governor. The VA Gov. Warner in turn leaned on UVa to back VT or not support any ACC expansion.
The ACC commish found he needed Virginia’s support to get the plan through. So, VT became the school to come with Miami. There still was not enough support at that moment for BC or Syracuse, they waited another year before bringing in BC — after the NCAA rejected their request to change conference championship rules to allow the minimum be lowered to 11 teams.
Pitt is the only candidate (aside from ND) that is within a state that already has a Big 11 member.
Now obviously the Pennsylvania political structure is nowhere near the same and political influence over the major schools seems much more limited — as witnessed by the failure of several attempts to mandate Pitt-PSU play each other annually as states like Florida and Alabama have done.
Now we don’t know how Big Something expansion will work out. It is known that the Big 11 needs 8 of the 11 present members to back an applying school for membership.
(I’m sure everyone can see where this is going.)
So here’s the question: Do you think Pitt and its supporters in the legislature should bring pressure to bear on PSU to back Pitt into the Big Something? Whether this is done publicly or privately is not relevant.
To the point of demanding they not support any other school unless Pitt is included? Would it make a difference? Is it already taking place quietly?
Or do you think that the Big 11 schools would be too unified for PSU to stop it (i.e., at least 8 votes among the other 10 for all other candidates for membership)?
As a fan of limited government and not wild about them interfering in higher education, my natural instincts are to recoil. Of course, the Pitt alum/fan in me is screaming, “By any and all means necessary!”
This may be a no-brainer. Still worth asking.