The dominoes have fallen quickly, and it appears UConn could be in line for a jump to the ACC.
According to multiple reports, Maryland has accepted an invite to join the Big 10, leaving the ACC with a vacancy for its 14-team league. An ESPN report cited sources saying Connecticut was “the most likely candidate,” but school officials had not been contacted by the league as of Sunday night, the report said.
A CBSSports.com report Tuesday indicated the UConn and Louisville were the two lead candidates. Although it’s widely believed the league will move quickly, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that he’s been told “the ACC will not hurry into replacing Maryland.”
If UConn is in fact extended an offer, it’s a no-brainer: The ACC is the nation’s new basketball SuperConference, and it offers big TV money for football, something the Big East has not yet been able to secure. The ACC recently inked a $3.6 billion contract with ESPN through 2028, a deal pays out roughly $17 million annually to each member. Ever since Mike Aresco was hired as Big East commissioner, it’s been the league’s mission to secure a similar contract. With the conference in turmoil and yet another major football member leaving, it may be difficult to do so.
The ACC is also reported to be considering South Florida and Cincinnati, but it appears likely the decision will come down to Louisville and UConn.
Louisville is a sensible addition because it offers the strongest combination of football and men’s basketball. UConn, still a power in men’s hoops but a “work in progress,” as Paul Pasqualoni would say, on the gridiron, gives the league a presence in the Greater New York market.
UConn athletic director Warde Manuel could not be reached for comment. He is reportedly on his way to the Virgin Islands for tonight’s Paradise Jam championship between UConn and New Mexico.