3:44 p.m. Update:
Still working on a few things and waiting on a few calls to see if I can get some more info on all of this, but nearly all of the people I have talked to continue to point to the Big 12's comfort at 10 teams as a very real thing and something that does not put the conference in any danger.
Here's a column from Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com that essentially spells out why. Most of it you've heard here, but it's still a good read.
Also, in case you didn't check out the audio from KU men's basketball coach Bill Self's news conference today, here's a look at some of Self's thoughts on the current state of conference realignment:
“Everybody thought it was pretty much status quo, and there’s one guy working behind the scenes that’s really good that has now changed the entire landscape of what’s going on, and that’s (Big Ten commissioner) Jim Delany,” Self said. “With what he’s done with the Big Ten, it’s now caused a trickle down.”
“The SEC is going to poach somebody now,” Self said. “They’re going to go to 16. The ACC is going to have 16. But, the SEC may poach the ACC, so now that’s going to screw that number up. So where are we on this stuff? I don’t know that we could be on more solid footing right now,” Self said. “With the situation with the SEC and the Big 12 in football, the alliance, the new television deal, we are in great shape. I don’t think there’s any need to rush to do anything.”
“I think with the movement that’s going on, the landscape will change and feelings will change,” Self said. “Now maybe the way we thought it was isn’t exactly the way it could be two or three, five years from now.”
9:51 a.m. Update:
Here's a nice assessment of things from Matt Hayes, of the Sporting News, who spells out more clearly what the result of the ACC's lawsuit against Maryland (for full payment of the $50 million exit fee) could mean for the future of the ACC and the future of expansion and realignment.
8:56 a.m. Update:
As expected, the ACC woke up bright and early this morning to vote to add Louisville starting in 2014. Here's a nice recap on the whole thing from ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy.
It'll be interested to see where things go from here. Even though the move to grab Louisville would seem to indicate that the ACC is going to survive, it actually could wind up being a move that makes their situation more precarious, as the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC all could see it as a sign that they should get going with their expansion plans (not that the Big Ten needs the nudge) which could lead all three to look toward other ACC schools as outlined below.
Now that this has become official, I'll do a little checking around to see if anyone in the Big 12 or at KU has any kind of reaction.
It's interesting, because people assumed for months that Louisville would jump at the chance to join the Big 12. And they probably would have. But, as I outline below, I don't think the Big 12 is crying over this one. If it truly wanted the Cardinals, it would've signed them up long before getting to this point.
I also thought this Tweet that just came through from ESPN's Joe Schad was pretty interesting:
ACC Presidents have agreement to disclose any contact from other conferences and source says it hasn't happened outside of Maryland — Joe Schad via Twitter
Doesn't mean much for the news from today, but could mean a lot moving forward if other leagues try to poach more ACC members.
Original Post, 11:49 p.m. CST 11/27
A couple of quick conference realignment notes to get your Wednesday morning started off right (or cap off your Tuesday night depending upon in which time zone you’re reading this).
First, let’s look at what’s new in the ACC, where news broke this week that the league officially has filed a lawsuit against Maryland requesting the entire $50 million buyout and, while that was going on, decided to call a meeting for Wednesday morning (Nov. 28, a.k.a. today) to talk about expansion.
If universities hopping three time zones and not batting an eye at multi-million dollar penalties to play in new leagues didn’t lead you to the conclusion that this whole thing’s a mess, maybe that last part will. You read it right. The most vulnerable of all the current BCS leagues, the one in danger of having the rest of its teams plucked away by the Big Ten, SEC and, yes, even the Big 12, is actually looking to expand.
Hey, they could be onto something and it may very well be the only way for the league to survive. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?
Anyway, one of the hottest expansion targets for the suddenly scrambling ACC is Louisville. Louisville, you may recall, has long been rumored to be a potential target for the Big 12 should it choose to expand. Wonderful.
Here’s my take on the Louisville component. If the Big 12 wanted Louisville — and I mean truly wanted it, not just thought it would be a decent option if other parts fell into place — it would have signed them up by now. I’m not knocking the Ville or saying it would or would not be a good option for the Big 12. I’m simply saying that those who think the league would cry over losing out on Louisville may be mistaken.
Here’s an outstanding breakdown of what’s going on in the ACC at the moment. Although it’s clear from this report that there may be some serious movement here, the report also makes it clear that the potential additions of Navy, UConn, South Florida and Cincinnati, along with Louisville, hardly would represent a coup for the ACC. Survival, perhaps, but certainly nothing to celebrate with a parade or national holiday.
Evidently, today’s ACC conference call to discuss handing out official invitations is set for 7 a.m., so by the time many of you are reading this, things could be well on their way. Even if that’s the case, there’s still plenty of interesting stuff here and plenty to talk about.
Now, let’s look at things from the point of view of the anti-realignment crowd, the group that’s tired of all the moving and shaking and nonsense and just wishes this whole thing would come to an end once and for all.
After news hit that Maryland and Rutgers were leaving the ACC and Big East to join the Big Ten, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was asked how the move would impact the Pac-12. In short, he said it wouldn’t and he reaffirmed that stance this week by saying that recent expansion talks within the conference produced the same conclusion that the league came to toward the end of the last round — there is no need, at this time, for the Pac-12 to go beyond 12 schools and the league is happy with its current number.
Kind of sounds like another conference I know.
Anyway, here’s a report from Nov. 19 from Chris Dufresne of the L.A. Times, who details Scott’s thoughts.
Finally, there’s more smoke coming from Big Ten land that the 14-team conference wants two more and has sent out feelers to Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Notre Dame and, yep, Kansas.
As I explained last week, it does not make any sense, at least not as things stand right now, for KU to leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten. As appealing as some things might be, the financial burden of leaving the Big 12 would cripple KU’s athletic department.
It would not surprise me at all if Jim Delany and the Big Ten became the first league to reach 16 teams. It also would not make me think any more highly of that league or what they have going on. Bigger, we’ve heard time and time again throughout this ordeal, is not always better.
If Delany gets there, look for Virginia and Georgia Tech to be the two teams he does it with, which only adds more meat to the argument that the ACC, though still in existence, is far from a thriving conference. Take Virginia and Tech away and you’re looking at an even less appealing league, with or without expansion.
So there you have it. The Big Ten and ACC are actively looking to expand, the Pac-12 and Big 12 appear content at 12 and 10 schools, respectively, and the SEC seems more concerned with hiring football coaches and seeing if it can make it seven straight BCS champions than adding new members. Don’t think for a second that all three of the quote/unquote quiet conferences in this have their eyes close right now. Heads are on swivels and activity is being tracked.
If we’ve learned anything through realignment it’s that things can move awfully quickly.