SBD/September 14, 2012/Colleges

Aresco Says Notre Dame Hasn't Yet Requested Early Exit, But Big East Would Discuss It

Notre Dame has expressed a desire to join the ACC for the '13-14 school year
Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said that there have been "no discussions yet about letting Notre Dame out of the league to join the ACC before the required 27-month waiting period," according to Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com. Aresco said, "They may make a request and then we'd have to negotiate with them because they are required to stay for two more seasons. If they do, we'll engage them in a negotiation." Adelson notes Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia "all were able to negotiate early departures from the Big East when they decided to make moves to different conferences." WVU paid $20M to leave for the Big 12 this season, while Pitt and Syracuse each will pay $7.5M to join the ACC in '13, a year ahead of schedule. Notre Dame also expressed a desire to join the ACC next year. Aresco said, "We wish Notre Dame well. We'll talk to them. We may be able to figure something out. We may not. We just don't know yet." Meanwhile, he addressed the idea that the Big East is "on the verge of falling apart." Aresco: "Complete nonsense. ... How can anybody argue we aren't top to bottom the best basketball conference in the country? We're right up there." He added, "When you lose a team, there's always some comment and that's fine. We know we have a strong future, and we also know we've reconstituted our football and we've added some outstanding teams" (ESPN.com, 9/13). Aresco said that he is "optimistic there won't be additional conference shifting ahead." He said, "Our sense is this might be it for a while, that there might be stability now. ... It looks like there might be a period of relative calm" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/14).

STANDING BEHIND HIS BELIEFS: Univ. of Maryland President Wallace Loh said he voted against the ACC's new $50M exit fee based on "purely legal and philosophical" grounds. In DC, Alex Prewitt noted Maryland and Florida State were the only two ACC schools Wednesday to vote against raising the exit fee from around $20M to $50M. Loh believes the $50M fee for leaving the ACC "represents not an exit fee but an 'exit penalty.'" He said it is "illegal and philosophically not a good idea." Loh "stressed that his objection stemmed solely from personal beliefs, and not a desire on Maryland's part to protect itself in the event that it one day decides to leave the ACC." Loh has "repeatedly praised the relationship between Maryland and the ACC, saying that the school will continue to be a part of it for years to come." However, he said he disagrees with "punishing people if they simply exit a relationship" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/13).
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