The ACC made a big move this weekend, adding two schools from the Big East, the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University.
The move may be the latest domino to fall in the NCAA’s move towards super-conferences. But it also shows just how cutthroat big-time college sports can be.
Adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse gives the ACC 14 schools, but they may not be done. Rutgers and the University of Connecticut could follow, with UConn “aggressively pursuing” membership in the ACC.
While the ACC may be the first major conference to grow to 16 teams, it also marks the end of football in a conference more known for basketball. If UConn and Rutgers jump to the ACC, only four football programs would remain in the Big East, with Texas Christian University scheduled to join in 2012.
The remaining four football schools in the Big East (South Florida, Cincinnati, Louisville, West Virginia) will likely start scrambling for new homes. While the SEC is a possibility, there is also a possibility that the remaining Big East football schools could merge with the similarly poached Big 12 conference. Only nine schools remain in the Big 12. However, four of those schools (Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech) have been rumoured to be interested in joining the Pac-12 conference.
As for the ACC, the addition of Pitt and Syracuse came just days after the presidents of the current members voted to raise the fee for leaving the conference from $12-14 million to $20 million. In other words, the ACC doesn’t want any of their schools bailing for a better deal. But at the same time, they have no problem poaching schools from another conference.