UConn has serious interest in joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, a source with knowledge of the university’s position confirmed Monday. Rebuilding the Big East in the wake of the departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC remains a priority, but right now self-preservation trumps any restoration project.
“I think they’re both priorities, but the one we can really be the most proactive with is (the ACC),’’ the source said. “We’ve got to take care of ourselves. My gut’s telling me there’s a better than average chance we’ll be in the ACC. (UConn president Susan Herbst) is in pretty constant communication. She knows a couple of the presidents and things like that. She’s working on it.’’
The source said that UConn has not filed an application for membership with the ACC. The process is not that simple. They said Syracuse and Pittsburgh had been working on their respective moves for some time before it officially came to fruition Sunday.
“You don’t really apply,’’ the source said. “You only apply if you know you’re going to get in. This is not going to be a quick-fire thing. This is going to take a little time because the ACC is in the position of power. So they’re going look around and they’re going to talk to Notre Dame and see if they’ve got any interest. They’re going to shop around.’’
UConn spokesman Mike Enright said Monday that interim athletic director Paul Pendergast is not conducting any interviews at this time. His first day at UConn has been moved to Oct. 1.
A move to the ACC seems to be the most beneficial play for UConn. It is an established conference. The member schools are there to stay despite an imposed $20 million exit fee.
Meanwhile, the future of the Big East is filled with great uncertainty. Should the Big 12 dissolve, schools such as Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri could join the Big East. However, the source said that this would not necessarily stabilize the Big East and promote long-term success.
“There’s so many moving parts to this thing right now,’’ the source said. “But the problem with this is even if there is this Big 12/Big East hybrid type of thing, a lot of people are going to consider it a temporary home. If you have this league with Connecticut and Missouri and Kansas and Iowa State, you’re talking about a situation where even when the league is founded it’s going to be a tenuous situation where almost everybody’s planning for it to fail. It’s a hideaway for 10 years or something like that.’’