BC will stand out in ACC

Originally Published: October 12, 2003
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

Nearly a decade ago, after a lot of political infighting, a small religious school became the 12th invitee into a certain conference, even though it had little in common with the association's other schools.

On Sunday, Boston College became the Baylor of the northeast.

As part of the Big 12, Baylor looks like the answer to a problem on a second-grade test: pick the one that doesn't match the others. When Baylor upset Colorado on Oct. 4, first-year coach Guy Morriss tied for second in career conference wins among the school's Big 12 coaches, with one.

The same geographical reasons that Miami cited for choosing to leave the Big East have now been dumped on Boston College's doorstep. The Eagles just picked up a huge increase in travel expenses for their non-revenue sports.

As part of the ACC, Boston College sticks out for different reasons. Father William Leahy, the president of Boston College, likes the idea of being associated with academic schools such as Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia. The athletic fit, however, is not a good one.

The same geographical reasons that Miami cited for choosing to leave the Big East have now been dumped on Boston College's doorstep. The Eagles just picked up a huge increase in travel expenses for their non-revenue sports. The Eagles dump a basketball league with more like institutions, and a football league with a good mix of private and public schools.

The ACC gets a team in a major metropolitan television market in the northeast, although a market in which Boston College draws relatively few viewers. Boston College will dispute whether it is subject to the $5 million exit fee and the 27-month notice that the Big East recently passed. The school is questioning whether those apply to it, but Father Leahy said Boston College will do whatever it is legally bound to do.

So here comes an ACC football playoff, as soon as Boston College can extricate itself from the Big East. Here comes the $10 million that a playoff supposedly will raise, and it will pretty much take care of Boston College's projected share of the pie.

"Our membership is very surprised that the ACC presidents continue to come back into our league for membership," a statement from the Big East office said Sunday.

Surprised, in this case, is a euphemism for angry. By the way, here comes the state of Connecticut, adding Boston College to its pending suit against Miami.

The Big East, even with UConn, is down to five football teams. The expected addition of Louisville and Cincinnati will make seven. Commissioner Mike Tranghese is interested in South Florida, another Conference USA school, as a full member as well as Central Florida, of the MAC, as a football-only member. That would re-establish the league in Florida, and in two of the state's biggest cities. That move is expected soon.

Ivan Maisel is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at ivan.maisel@espn3.com.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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