Apocalypse Now: Louisville to ACC

There's an opening in the ACC, will UConn get the call to fill it?

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11 Total Updates since November 19, 2012
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  • Updates 8
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It's official: Louisville to ACC over UConn

Horrible, horrible news to wake up to this morning as the ACC has voted to add Louisville -- over UConn -- in 2014. This is, without question, an unmitigated disaster for the Huskies, who were once considered the favorite to take Maryland's spot in the ACC. There are now serious questions about the health and future of the athletic program, which for the time being has been left out in the cold by realignment, and will continue to be an outcast until there is another shock to the conference system. Luckily for UConn fans, that could happen at any time in modern college athletics. Unlikely for UConn fans, it might also happen never, and until it does UConn is in very, very rough shape.

UConn was in the pole position for this bid, but got outmaneuvered by the Cardinals. President Susan Herbst and Athletic Director Warde Manuel will have a lot of explaining to do.

One final thing: I understand the nature of the internet, so I know that we'll get a lot of traffic today from fans from elsewhere coming to rubberneck. That's fine, but this is a place for UConn fans, so I'm going to have an incredibly quick trigger on the ban button if you post anything that even resembles trolling. You've been warned.

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Report: Louisville one vote shy of ACC invite

Well, this is not what you want to read after a long day:

That's Mark Blaudschun, updating a post we discussed earlier to say that at the last vote held by the ACC Louisville was in the lead, but one vote shy of acceptance. I suppose that could be a bad news/good news sort of thing, but really it feels like it is all bad news.

Of course, this doesn't mean anything is over. One vote shy is still one vote shy -- whoever is voting no had a reason to do so, and hopefully they'll stick by it. Plus we dont' know where UConn stands in this whole thing. How many votes does UConn have? How strong is their support? And what are the odds of a compromise where both teams get in because of an impasse?

In case you're wondering there are currently 11 voting members in the ACC. Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame won't have votes until they officially join and Maryland forfeited theirs by leaving. To get an invite a school needs to get 75 percent of the possible votes, meaning they need nine of 11. So, if this report is accurate that means Louisville is sitting on 8 (one might imagine three of Duke/UNC/Virginia/Wake Forest are the no votes) and UConn is at something less than that.

There's still a lot that has to be played out here, but I, for one, am more nervous than I was an hour ago.

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Report: ACC expansion to 14 could come this week

The Thanksgiving holiday provided a welcome respite from conference realignment rumors, but with turkey day in the rearview mirror the conference carousel is starting back up with a vengeance.

CBS reporter Jeremy Fowler was the first to check in, sending out a report yesterday that the ACC was likely to expand this week, but that the conference was unlikely to go past 14 teams. That timeline would seem to dovetail with the notion that the ACC would wait until it's regularly scheduled meetings around the ACC Championship game -- which will be played Saturday -- to make a decision.

However the fact that only one team may be picked is a lot less friendly than the everybody (except USF) is happy and singing kumbabya rumor from last week that UConn, Louisville and Cincinnati could all get invited together. That means it's once again down to UConn and Louisville. Both schools apparently have a few things working in their favor, but Fowler did indicate that UConn might have a few more advantages:

A prominent official from an ACC school told me Louisville and UConn both have something to offer but stressed academics will matter to presidents. This favors UConn, widely considered a top-75 national university. The Hartford area also is larger than Louisville's, but the Cardinals have a strong football/basketball product and aggressive AD Tom Jurich.

That doesn't mean we'll be getting news today or tomorrow though. Brett McMurphy, the godfather of realignment reporting, made it sound like rumors (or hopes) of an immediate answer aren't something to hang your hat on:

That doesn't mean something won't happen this week, but it probably means there might be a few more days for everyone to be on pins and needles.

So in summation: I hope you enjoyed the break from all of this, because we'll probably be hearing a lot about it in the next few days and it could get very, very stressful.

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The three things you need to know right now

Yesterday we hoped that conference expansion would sort itself out neatly and cleanly, with UConn getting a quick and smooth invite to the ACC that would be announced today. That, it goes without saying, did not happen. Instead UConn fans are sitting on pins and needles in an more-unstable-by-the-second Big East. So UConn fans are starting to worry, and they worry especially when Andy Katz tweets things like this:

and like this:

Panic time right? Well, not really. There are three things UConn should realize right now. In order of rationality (I know that doesn't count in conference realignment, but bear with me) they are this:

  • The ACC is in no rush whatsoever. All indications right now are that the Big XII isn't rushing to react to the Big Ten's grab of Maryland and Rutgers, which means that absolutely no one is putting pressure on the ACC to act at the moment. They don't need to be reactionary and they can act according to their own priorities, which, if we're being honest, probably have "make sure the 13 remaining teams are happy and settled" much higher than inviting UConn or Louisville programs that will always be there. Also, don't forget that ACC commissioner John Swofford is the ninja-assassin of conference realignment. When the ACC poached Syracuse and Pitt, or when it half added Notre Dame, it came as a surprise to everyone. The man runs a tight ship and press leaks are not how he likes things being done.
  • A good chunk of UConn's athletic staff was at a basketball game in the Virgin Islands until last night at around 1 a.m. local time. Does that mean they were unreachable? No, but it means they sure as hell weren't in an ideal work environment. If you figure UConn's contingent flew through the night to get back home (and that's assuming there was an easy flight available after the game -- which is a big assumption) that means they've only really been able to work for the past handful of hours.
  • Finally, as ominous as those tweets sound, they're not the worst thing in the world for two reasons. First, the fact that UConn hasn't heard anything yet does not mean that Louisville has. We know both schools have been in contact with the ACC, so it's not like hearing something in this context means that you're getting initial context. It means UConn hasn't been invited. Second, Katz says that "Louisville is a serious player to bump out UConn." Now that sounds bad, but don't forget, you can't be bumped out of the lead unless you're already in the lead. Is it a danger? Yes, but it's not a death sentence.
The point of all this is that no one knows anything right now, so it's very easy to overreact to everything. There is absolutely no reason for the ACC to rush and that means that there is no reason for UConn fans to panic. Save your panicing for when it's confirmed someone who is not UConn has received an invite to the conference. Until then just get comfortable, we could be waiting for a while.
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