With Maryland accepting an invitation to the Big Ten Conference and with Rutgers expected to accept an invitation tomorrow, what other college dominoes might fall as the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big East Conference look to replace their departing schools?
The Huskies had been mentioned many times as a possible addition to the ACC but were somewhat surprisingly left out when the conference announced last fall that Pittsburgh and Syracuse were joining. Both the Panthers and the Orange – after paying the Big East a $7.5 million buyout from the league — will begin ACC play in 2013-14.
The ACC announced back in February that it was revamping its basketball league into two seven-team divisions but when Notre Dame joined this September, it brought the total to 15 and there was talk that the Huskies might become the 16th team. However, the ACC said that it would not add a 16th member.
Maryland’s departure will leave the conference with 14 teams for basketball but only 13 for football – the Irish will maintain their Independent status – so it remains to be seen if the ACC might look at UConn to fill that void.
And if the ACC or Big Ten decides to call, the Huskies would certainly listen.
“We have been monitoring the ever-changing national college landscape for a while now and we’ll continue to do so,” a UConn spokesman said Monday. “There’s really nothing else to say at this time.”
With the Big Ten adding Rutgers and Maryland to extend its eastern boundries, it will be interesting to see if they go after UConn and possibly another Northeast school to bring its conference total to 14 teams. There are strong ties with Huskies athletic director Warde Manuel, who spent six years at Michigan as assistant AD from 1998-2005 and played two seasons of football for the Wolverines before a neck injury ended his career. He graduated from UM in 1990.
Next season, Houston, Memphis, Central Florida and SMU join the Big East as all-sports members and Boise State, San Diego State will join the conference in football only, bringing the total number of football schools to 12 and basketball to 16. Depending on when Rutgers buys out its Big East membership (after the 2012-13 or 2013-14 seasons?) The Big East will need to add another all-sports school to balance its football and basketball divisional alignment.