The Union Recorder

November 28, 2012

ACC leaders to discuss expansion plans

AARON BEARD
The Associated Press

ATLANTA — The Atlantic Coast Conference's presidents and chancellors have scheduled a conference call for Wednesday morning to discuss plans about replacing Maryland, a person familiar with the situation said.

The person spoke to The Associated Press early Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the ACC has not publicly discussed future expansion plans.

Maryland announced last week it would join the Big Ten in 2014. If the ACC chooses to replace the Terrapins, Big East schools Louisville and Connecticut are considered the front-runners to fill that vacancy.

A message to ACC spokesman Brian Morrison was not immediately returned early Wednesday morning.

The plans for the conference call were first reported late Tuesday night by ACCSports.com.

This latest rapid-fire round of realignment was set off last week by the Big Ten's additions of Maryland and Rutgers, which is leaving the Big East to also join the Big Ten in 2014.

On Tuesday, the Big East added Tulane for all sports and East Carolina for football only, also beginning that year.

Adding one more school would bring the ACC to an even 14 full members for the 2014 season, with Pittsburgh and Syracuse beginning conference play in 2013.

Two months ago, the ACC announced the addition of Notre Dame for all the conference's sports but football, with the fiercely independent Fighting Irish committing to play five ACC football opponents each season. Most of Notre Dame's non-football sports have competed in the Big East since 1995.

If either Louisville or UConn is added, it would become the seventh school to leave the Big East for the ACC.

They both have a BCS bowl appearance to their credit during the past six years. The Cardinals, who made the jump from Conference USA in 2005, beat Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl the following season. They will claim their second BCS berth if they beat Rutgers on Thursday night.

UConn, which began playing Big East football in 2004 after moving up from the Championship Subdivision, lost to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2010 season.

Both schools also can boast of strong basketball pedigrees — and either one would add some extra juice to what's already one of the nation's premier conferences for that sport.

Louisville has won two national titles and reached its ninth Final Four last season, and coach Rick Pitino has the current Cardinals ranked No. 5 in this week's poll. UConn claimed the most recent of its three NCAA tournament titles under former coach Jim Calhoun in 2011.