Maybe I’m actually tired of expansiopocolypse. Or maybe this one doesn’t seem worth the effort.
It started with a report from a 247 site. That the Big Ten would give an offer to UNC to join, and probably take Virginia (or GT or FSU) to make it an even 16. Sure the Baylor and Clemson iterations were dead wrong over the summer, but since this came from a Maryland one. And they got it right with Maryland to the Big Ten, it has to be true. Forget that Maryland-based rumor reports of the end of the ACC at the hands of the B1G could well be the next version of West Virginia-based rumor reports of the end of the ACC at the hands of the Big XII.
Take a breath.
Would the Big Ten like to add UNC and UVa? Probably if they want to go to 16. Delany has made it clear that it is now all about TV markets. It would fit with his East Coast interests and would be geographically contiguous. Is there really an offer to UNC? Maybe. There have been plenty of people saying that UNC has had a standing offer from the Big Ten for years.
I’m just not seeing UNC going anywhere.
1. ACC exit fees. Maryland and the ACC are involved in a lawsuit over the $50 million exit fees. The trial is proceeding, as the motion for dismissal by Maryland was rejected this week. No one is leaving the ACC until they see what they have to pay.
2. UNC is the ACC. Maryland fans were very split on this decision because of their history in the ACC. In the end Maryland left because they are in such a financial mess, they have no real choice. Now think about UNC. Their finances are fine. They have long been the center of ACC power. Maybe not as much as it used to be, but they hold a lot of influence in the conference (real and perceived). As we saw with Texas and the Big XII, power and influence over a conference is a strong deterrent to leaving.
3. State politics. Yes, it took a pedophile to get Pennsylvania to get involved with one of the major state universities, but most other states are not that hands off. Especially when there is more than one prominent university with athletic aspirations, political power and money.
Think about the fight in Texas when the Pac-10 came knocking. How Baylor (a private school, no less) started fighting to stay relevant with as much political pressure as it could bring. Texas Tech would have been brought along to placate state politics and Texas A&M got really ticked. How Texas A&M finally got to go to the SEC — thanks in no small part to political support from their alumni governor.
UNC and NC State are under the same state education board. You really think the NC State faction would support them leaving the conference that easily? You don’t think political pressure would be brought by Wake Forest and Duke?
How about in Virginia where political pressure was used to force VT into the ACC in the 2003 raid of the Big East? Think it would be that easy for Virginia to leave the ACC? No matter how much VT makes googly eyes to the SEC, until they get that invite they aren’t going to easily let Virginia go B1G.
4. They may not be the real targets. This might be the long-con. Delany has to know that UNC is extremely unlikely to go anywhere. But to let it out about an offer adds to the air of abrupt instability in the ACC. The schools that would be easier to persuade, and not have to worry about messy state politics become even more eager. I’m thinking Florida State and Georgia Tech. They fit academically. They are in very desirable areas for population growth, media markets and recruiting territories.
Take a breath.