- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 12, 2003

The ACC could invite Boston College as its 12th member as soon as today, according to conference sources.

The nine university presidents will meet via teleconference to decide whether to expand to a 12th team as required by the NCAA to have a football championship game worth $9million annually. After failing to lure Notre Dame in recent weeks, the conference is returning to Boston College, which it spurned in June when it added Virginia Tech and Miami for 2004.

Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow said yesterday the school firmly supports inviting Boston College, just as it did in June when the Eagles failed to gain the needed seven of nine votes.

“We’ve always been in support of Boston College,” Yow said.

A renewed expansion push comes after an NCAA committee recently rejected the ACC’s appeal for a title game with less than the mandatory 12 teams. The championship is needed to make conference expansion financially worthwhile.

Boston College wants a quick resolution because the exit penalty from the Big East Conference is expected to swell from $2million to $5million. The increased fee, meant to discourage departures after the Big East lost Miami and Virginia Tech, could be confirmed in coming weeks. Currently, schools must pay $1million if they provide one year’s notice and $2million if they depart sooner.

ACC athletic directors approved Boston College and Syracuse after site visits in June. However, both were unexpectedly rejected when Virginia Gov. Mark Warner forced the ACC to invite Virginia Tech in exchange for the University of Virginia’s needed approval for expansion. The surprise vote by conference presidents included Miami and Virginia Tech, but Boston College got only six of the seven needed votes.

However, Boston College officials subsequently said they would consider future admission and have declined recent Big East requests for a long-term commitment.

Boston College would join Maryland, Clemson, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Florida State in a northern division for football. Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, Duke and North Carolina would form the southern division. Men’s basketball would continue as one conference, though the 16-game schedule would limit some rivalries to once annually instead of the traditional home-and-home series.

Meanwhile, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the Big East suit against the ACC for financial damages over luring two schools will be refiled Tuesday in another court. A Superior Court judge dismissed the suit Friday, saying the ACC didn’t have enough business dealings in Connecticut for it to be decided in its jurisdiction.

“We are dead set and determined to hold these individuals accountable for the harm done by the ACC,” Blumenthal said.

Big East members Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and West Virginia claim they spent millions of dollars on their football programs based on a belief the current alliances would continue.

• This article is based in part on wire-service reports.

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