- The Washington Times - Monday, October 13, 2003

Boston College became the ACC’s 12th member yesterday, capping a three-team expansion that will bring a lucrative football championship game by 2005.

ACC presidents voted 9-0 to invite Boston College, though North Carolina and N.C. State initially opposed. However, the required seven of nine approvals already were secured after Duke reversed its opposition on Friday, according to league sources.

Boston College accepted within hours of the official invitation, however ACC sources said the entry was assured earlier in order to prevent another embarrassing expansion situation. The ACC reneged on a planned invitation to Boston College and Syracuse in June after conference officials visited the schools and then unexpectedly offered invitations to only Miami and Virginia Tech.

The addition of Miami and Virginia Tech gave the ACC only 11 schools and another was needed when an NCAA committee denied the ACC’s request for a football championship game without the mandatory 12 teams. After failed talks with Notre Dame in recent weeks — the Fightin’ Irish wanted only a partial football membership — the ACC returned to Boston College. Pittsburgh and Syracuse were possible alternatives.

“Our presidents and chancellors are very impressed with Boston College,” said Clemson president James F. Barker, chair of the Council of Presidents, “not only with the quality and breadth of their athletic programs, but also with their excellent academic success and reputation. They would be both an outstanding academic and athletic partner.”

Boston College officials were unsure whether the Eagles could leave the Big East by 2004. The school already will pay a $1million exit fee that doubles if it leaves the Big East with less than one year’s notice. Boston College may wait until 2005, leaving the ACC with 11 teams for one year after Miami and Virginia Tech join the conference.

“I’m excited it’s finally over,” Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow said. “Maryland has been supportive of Boston College from day one. The primary reason is about positioning for the future. We need to stretch our footprint and truly become the ‘Atlantic Coast’ conference and I believe that means having an official presence in the northeast.”

Boston College president William P. Leahy said the move was based on the conference’s increased revenues and academic standards.

“The ACC will generate greater revenues in the future and that is important to us as an institution,” Leahy said. “The ACC is a strong, stable conference and membership in it secures the future for our intercollegiate athletics conference.”

The lack of an available southern school in a major television market forced the ACC to go outside its region for the first time. Several ACC football and basketball coaches welcomed the chance to gain exposure in the northeast, which helps recruiting in New York and New Jersey.

“One of the things that frustrated me was a regional television game didn’t go past Delaware,” Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen said. “Now our exposure in the northeast will open it up for us.”

Boston College will join Maryland, Clemson, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Florida State in a northern football division. Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, Duke and North Carolina form the southern division. Men’s basketball will continue as one conference.

Yow, chairwoman of the ACC television committee, said she’ll soon meet with ABC officials and renew the football and basketball contracts which expire in 2005. The football championship alone is expected to earn at least $8million and that should offset the sharing of revenue with three more teams. The addition of the Miami and Boston markets should also increase the contracts.

“It’s a really interesting period right now for the ACC,” Yow said.

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