Sunday, October 12, 2003

ACC expansion: Boston College targeted again

By David Droschak
The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. - Atlantic Coast Conference chancellors and presidents will hold a teleconference Sunday amid reports they are ready to invite Boston College to be the league's 12th team.

Miami and Virginia Tech were added to the nine-team conference in June and will begin play in 2004. Now it appears the ACC is ready to revisit the addition of Boston College or even Syracuse.

NCAA rules require that a conference have 12 schools to stage a lucrative league championship football game.

Boston College and Syracuse were the Big East schools in the ACC's original expansion plans - in addition to Miami - but were voted down in favor of adding the Hurricanes and Hokies.

"It's natural to think about Boston College and Syracuse because they are the ones we've already visited," North Carolina State chancellor Marye Anne Fox said Saturday, "but I wouldn't say we're restricted to just those schools."

The New York Times reported Saturday that Boston College will be extended an invitation by the ACC on Sunday. However, Fox called that report "completely premature."

"I haven't even decided myself which way I would vote," Fox said. "There have been subtle inaccuracies (in the media) that mean a lot, like the when, and the if, and the who. All of those are undefined."

Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo was in Philadelphia with the football team, which played Temple, and said he had no information on any recent developments with ACC expansion.

"We've been down this road before and we'll see what happens," DeFilippo said during the game. "If and when something does happen, then we'll react to it."

The ACC needs at least seven of nine votes by the chancellors and presidents to expand.

Two weeks ago, published reports said Notre Dame would be extended an invitation by the ACC. Those reports turned out to be false.

"I am a little bit surprised that things have gotten to where they are right now, so I am in a perpetual state of surprise as things move on," said Donn Ward, chairman of the N.C. State athletic council.

Fox said there is no set agenda for Sunday's teleconference. However, she said the ACC leadership would probably discuss the league being dropped as a defendant in a lawsuit by Big East schools over expansion.

While the ACC was dropped from the lawsuit Friday, incoming ACC member Miami is still a defendant in the suit filed by four Big East schools accusing it of conspiring with the ACC to weaken the Big East.

The ACC has petitioned the NCAA to relax the number of schools required to hold a football title game. Officials have said a final ruling from the NCAA won't come until early next year.

Some athletic officials at other Big East schools sounded resigned to losing Boston College.

"Would I be surprised if Boston College jumped? Are you kidding?" West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "I think they've been waiting to be asked for a year now, if not longer."

Rodriguez said that the conference could just rebuild with another team, but Temple AD Bill Bradshaw didn't brush off Boston College's departure so quickly.

"The Big East is going to be very good, regardless," he said. "I'm just saying as a football member, BC is a serious loss. A serious loss."

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