Pitt wasn’t there. But they and Syracuse came up in the conversation. Primarily in the context of how well they fit in the shape of the conference.
In the days before their 2003 and 2004 expansion, the ACC liked that they could claim that all their members were geographically contiguous. Then they added Boston College and they had an outlier. With the addition of Pitt and Cuse, the connection is reestablished and the ACC really does live up to its name.
And Pitt and Syracuse were natural additions to the league because they fit the profile academically and athletically. He said the geographic fit was perfect as well because the two schools fill a gap between Maryland and Boston College.
Swofford said that it was easy to add Pitt and Syracuse because both schools are so similar to most of the current schools in the ACC and that both have plenty of potential for growth.
“I think what attracted this conference to Pitt as well as Syracuse relates to the balance or athletics and academics, their history of athletics and the potential of that program to grow going forward and the quality of the institutions,” Swofford said. “I know a lot of people are cynical about [the importance of academics] in terms of expansion, but if you sat in and listened to an expansion discussion with our presidents it definitely does matter.
“And Pitt and Syracuse both fit the profile collectively of the other 12 schools in the ACC as far being in the top 100 of academic institutions, their athletic numbers were good in terms of graduation rates, etc., and geographically the two schools have given us the opportunity to be contiguous from state to state, and competitively we felt like they fit well.
“A lot of it was about fit. I mean institutionally and academically as well as athletically and certainly, in this instance, geographically as well.”
On the subject of Pitt and Syracuse’s buyout from the Big East, not surprisingly, the ACC wasn’t helping to pay the freight.
Syracuse and Pitt announced separate agreements last week to pay $7.5 million apiece to leave the Big East for the ACC after this season, and Swofford said Sunday that the ACC wouldn’t help either school with those payments.
Pitt’s move from the Big East to the ACC will more than triple the Panthers’ annual TV revenue to $17 million from less than $5 million, covering the added cost of switching conferences 17 months early.
“When you look at where we are going and the financial impact of this,” Pederson said Thursday, “you can almost just look at the television contract alone and know literally in a very short period of time, probably within the first year, we will be able to make up the difference and get this taken care of.”
I know why the question was asked. WVU got a big hand from the Big 12 to get out of the Big East, so I guess someone has to ask. Still, the circumstances, the money and everything there is so different that there really is no comparison. It’s not like the Big 12 gave TCU money to settle with the Big East. I really don’t think anyone legitimately believed or thought the ACC was or needed to give Pitt and Cuse money to get out of the Big East early.
It’s the same reason that expansiopocolypse delusions from Clemson and FSU fans involved them trying to explain how their team wouldn’t actually pay the $20 million to leave the ACC. That the Big 12 would give them a large chunk to do it. No. WVU was a very special case borne out of necessity with the Big 12’s TV deal. The Big 12 members would have lost money without that 10th member. Expansion to get more money isn’t the same. It’s why Mizzou, Texas A&M and Nebraska didn’t get loans or gifts from the SEC and Big 10 when they left the Big 12.
One of the big issues at ACC Media Days was the situation at Miami. Just as the weekend arrived, Yahoo! investigative pitbull Charles Robinson dropped a piece that strongly implicated Al Golden in continuing Miami’s history of playing fast and loose with recruiting rules.
The latest issues involving Allen are twofold — his having provided improper benefits to players dating back to early in his career at Miami; and his continued improper contact with Miami recruits, which allegedly lasted through his final days working for the Hurricanes in the summer of 2011.
One former Hurricanes staffer told Yahoo! Sports that Allen was used specifically by members of Golden’s staff as an “off-the-books” recruiter. As part of those duties, the staffer said Allen kept tabs on Miami-area kids, including making calls about their recruitment, and on some occasions, supplying improper transportation to and from campus that aided Miami in its efforts to gain a commitment from some prospects.
Golden has strongly denied all accusations. But it adds to the pile of stuff that is hanging over the Miami program with the NCAA investigation. Fit and financially the move to the ACC has been good for Miami. But it does seem as if they are never quite going to get out from under their own sins to be anything more than upper-middle in the conference.
Not sure if Randy Edsall is blaming his disastrous first year at Maryland on it, or if it is just a warning for Pitt and Syracuse. But Edsall is issuing warnings to beware of ayyy-ceee-ceee speed.
“You have the speed and the athleticism of the Clemsons, the Florida States and those teams like that, whereas in the Big East, there is only one team like that and that team is gone — West Virginia.”
Edsall said it is a pretty simple reason why the conference is blessed with so much speed and so many more athletes than the Big East — the majority of the conference is located in the southeastern part of the country.
But he said since Pitt will be playing more games in southern states the coaching staff can adjust its recruiting.
“There seems to be a lot more speed [in high school football] south of the Mason-Dixon line,” Edsall said. “And if you look up North, there just aren’t as many prospects. Pennsylvania doesn’t produce as many players as it used to, for example, and that’s one of the states in that geographical area [Northeast] that traditionally has.
“So I would think that those schools will have to rethink their recruiting areas and expand their territories down South. They will be able to because they will be playing in states and areas that maybe they never got to play in before in the Big East — like Georgia or South Carolina or even North Carolina.”
Pitt and Syracuse obviously will have to make some adjustments in recruiting, but Edsall said getting the right kinds of athletes is only half the battle, the other half is learning how to navigate through the league and learning the tendencies of new opponents.
Thee is no question that there will be an adjustment. Same with recruiting. It’s why Chris Dokish has been banging the drum so fiercely about Pitt and Coach Chryst’s need to hire someone on the coaching staff with Maryland/DC and/or Southeast recruiting ties (with which I do agree).
There were some grumblings at the ACC media day about the move to the 9-game schedule. During the rumblings of expansiopocolypse, we heard a bit of those. Especially from Clemson and Florida. (Something kind of absurd on its face since the Big 12 also has a 9-game schedule.)
The issue of five or four home conference games in alternating years seems like a very minor scheduling issue. That just requires a little planning. That is nothing like the Big East’s four and three issue that was more about trying to find enough games period when you have to fill out five non-cons.
The complaint really seems to be about only having three non-con games. For schools like FSU, Clemson and Georgia Tech, they are essentially locked in with another out-of-conference rivalry game. Boston College has that concern to some degree with Notre Dame. Pitt will probably have that issue in the future — though not as locked-in — with ND, Penn State and/or WVU.
I don’t see it changing, unless the ACC and Big 10 partner up now that the Big 10-Pac 12 deal fell through. But even then you are still locking in 9 games and going home-and-home.
There were and are some very strong reasons for the 9-game schedule. TV money at the top of the list. That’s nine additional conference games each year. That’s valuable for the TV rights. On a 12 year contract, that is 108 more games for the inventory. That is part of the reason the lone hold-outs — SEC and Big 10 are leaning towards 9 games in the future (especially with the Big 10 network and SEC’s own planned network).
The other is actually being able to play everyone in the conference. An 8-game schedule with divisions and a protected cross-over game means the other six teams on the schedule are home-and-home over a 12 year period. As Pitt will be in the Coastal division, that would mean seeing BC, Clemson, Maryland, and FSU (along with NC State and Wake) once every six years.
The final reason is overall cost certainties for all members. When the NCAA allowed 1-A to go to 12 games, one of the claims was that it would allow for better non-con games. Instead, a lot of programs treated it as a chance to make more money. Adding another home patsy. This drove up the cost of guarantee games. To the point that we now have an embarrassing proliferation of 1-AA games throughout college football in an attempt to fill the need — and maintain profitability. Going to 9 games cuts down on the demand for those