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Miami Investigation Could Destabilize The ACC, Impact SEC Expansion

When it comes to SEC expansion, anything is possible.  Here at MrSEC.com we’ll give you what we hear from our sources in Birmingham and around the league.  We’ll also try to let Mike Slive’s history of decisions, moves and timeframes have some bearing on our opinions of current SEC events.

And yet we still know full well that Slive could step to a podium tomorrow and announce that Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Maryland, and Tulane have signed on for an 18-team SEC.

In the spirit of anything is possible, we want to toss out a possibility for you to consider.  By now you’re aware of the claims being made by an ex-Miami booster who’s currently locked in the hoosegow for taking part in a $930 million Ponzi scheme.  Read this breakdown of the damning Yahoo! Sports report and you’ll understand what The U might be facing punishment-wise.

In recent years, the NCAA has steered clear of two things:

1)  Television bans — because with conferences holding multimillion dollar contracts these days, if the NCAA bans one team from TV, it could void an entire league’s contract by default and cost 11 “innocent” programs big cash.

2)  The death penalty for major programs — because after seeing how long the SMU recovery took, it’s viewed as just too harsh a sentence.  And, again, there’s the rest of the league to consider.

That said, when you scan all of the allegations made against Miami — allegations the NCAA will still have to investigate on its own, by the way — you come to the conclusion that anything less than devastating sanctions would come off as too soft… at a time when the NCAA is trying to show that’s it’s actually getting tougher.  (So, yes, the timing of these accusations couldn’t have been worse for The U.)

Now let’s do some real supposing.  If the NCAA does decide to kill the Miami program altogether (highly unlikely) or deliver a stiff television ban as part of other sanctions (more likely), the ACC could suddenly find itself destabilized.

Word has leaked from various SEC sources that Slive has no desire to raid an existing league, especially the ACC.  There’s also talk of a gentleman’s agreement — though we hear it would really just be four schools banding together to nix specific candidates — to keep out ACC schools already in the league’s footprint.

That said, there’s also been talk from inside that Sunshine State that the SEC has already had some form of communications with Florida State.  There have been multiple reports dating back a full year now that Slive would love to land North Carolina and Duke.  And Virginia Tech and NC State are also being tossed around as potential candidates for SEC expansion.  Clemson and Georgia Tech always get mentioned, as well, but we see those two as being even longer shots.

So if the SEC does have an interest in ACC teams but it wants ACC teams to approach it first, it would need for something to upset the ACC’s apple cart.  There might now be two things that could do just that:

1)  The ACC’s most recent television deal assures that its schools will make nice money for the next few years… but that cash will be nowhere near as nice as what the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 schools will be making.

2)  And that’s before the possibility of television sanctions hitting Miami  which could cause ESPN to try and broker a cheaper TV deal for the — in effect — 11-team league.

If the NCAA hammers Miami — and we don’t see how it cannot — then the entire ACC could be affected in small ways (competitive balance) or in large ways (loss of revenue).  In addition, Miami was brought in to be one of the league’s premier draws.  If the Hurricanes are downgraded by penalties, the ACC’s overall exposure in football could be impacted.  Example: Miami provides a reason for football fans in New Mexico or Indiana to watch an NC State or Virginia football game.  But if those schools are playing a Miami program that’s been SMU’d via harsh sanctions and massive recruiting restrictions, such a game might have the national drawing power of, well, NC State and Virginia playing one another.

That could be enough to lead a current ACC school to say, “You know, we like this league — all things being equal — but with fewer dollars coming in and less national exposure, it might be time to find a new home that can fix those problems for us.”

At that point, the SEC might start looking a whole lot better to the Virginia Techs, Florida States, North Carolinas, and Dukes of the world.

Again, this is just speculation on our part.  Who knows how the NCAA will react to the allegations made in the media by a jailbird?  But it’s possible this whole fiasco could become a Hurricane in the ACC’s teapot.  It could destabilize the Atlantic Coast Conference.

And that could open up more possibilities for the SEC.

 


24 comments
DRU2012
DRU2012

You're wrong about FSU--they get nixed from SEVERAL different angles, any ONE of which would sink 'em--but just UF saying "No", plus no-new-market consensus among the rest will be enough, publicly. There are similar strong cases linked to interlocking agreements among all the member-institutions regarding several of the schools who are being bandied about. Then there is the whole tangled NCAA violation-and-enforcement mess. While a major realignment among the top schools leading to so-called "super-conferences" may be inevitable, for now the SEC will, if anything, just absorb TAMU and one other--and that 14th, as yet unknown school is likely to be someone least offensive to most, and/or unnamed in major investigations, and/or delivering of potential new markets and TV-sets.

Keith
Keith

The looming trainwreck that is about to happen with Miami will give Florida State the reason to bolt the ACC and into the SEC, opposite Texas A&M. Those are the only two programs that will do anything for the national television exposure of the SEC above and beyond what it already is. Forget Duke, UNC, and any other ACC team. If Slive can't land FSU, then West Virginia becomes a go-to candidate. The Big East can easily replace them with a C-USA school like UCF.

But aTm and FSU are the choices.

Doug
Doug

I think Miami's penalty - whatever it is - will only be a sideshow to the impending round of conference expansion.

If we expect to end up with four 16 team super-conferences like so many are claiming:
Looking at the map, the PAC12 has nowhere to expand but into the states of Texas/Oklahoma. Once you recognize that, it all seems to fall in place. UTexas will end up in the PAC12; they're not going to the SEC and probably not to the B1G. They also can't form a Texas-centric super-conference because there aren't 16 legit universities in the region.
SEC will likely snatch A&M and 3 ACC schools in non-SEC states (with the exception of FSU).
B1G will go after universities with AAU membership in non-B1G states. Rutgers, Syracuse, GT, MD, UVA, Mizzou, Kansas. No way UNC or Duke goes to the B1G.
What's left of the ACC/Big East will join with ND to form the last of the super-conferences. If Miami doesn't get the death penalty they'll be here.

Dave
Dave

First thought is that Miami has to get the Death Penalty! If they don't get the DP for this then throw it out of the NCAA's bag of punishments for good and apologize to SMU. Allegations don't come more horrific than these and I venture to say that when the NCAA gets finished they are going to find so much more. Second, Miami's DP will be more of an impact to the landscape of college football than expansion. Why? Miami has NFL talent on their roster right now who will need a new home and the new recruits out of the Miami-fade county area will not be pipelined into the U anymore. I venture to speculate that most of them will not even sign with a Florida school because they grow up hating FSU and UF from early age. This will mean schools like UGA, Alabama, LSU and other top notch schools in the South will be getting the "home town" consideration rather than Miami. Love the site!

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

I have to agree that a TV ban or the "death penalty" is unlikely here, but is it possible that if the majority of these allegations are true and that UM gets hit so hard that it effectively becomes another FIU that the ACC will kick Miami out?

I'm wondering this because of the nature and time span of the allegations? Given that Miami is not the academic powerhouse that the ACC really wants, that their competitiveness in football would suffer greatly, and that this whole thing would be a stain on the institution would that make the ACC look elsewhere? Just another ACC instability scenario......

Also, I don't necessarily have a problem with GT getting back into the SEC, but I have to think the politics of it all would keep GT out even if they brought something to the table other than academics. GT leaving the SEC way back when created a lot of bad blood and I have to think some of the powers that be remember all that.

ViciousDawg
ViciousDawg

Ga Tech will never be allowed back in. They left the conference. Dawgbite Clemson would be a great addition just from the Athletic stand point. Dabo has them on the rise in football, they usually have a decent basketball team and they have a decent baseball team. I could see why some would no want them in the SEC. Besides I'm no Clemson fan. Urange is just faded red. Go dogs

JJ - San Diego
JJ - San Diego

It's no secret that the SEC is the power football conference....that being said I think if schools like NC and/or Duke were looking to leave the ACC they would be much more inclined to look to the Big 10 where the acadmic side of things would be a much better match than most schools in the SEC. If (huge if) NC & Duke were to leave I think that Maryland & Virgiina would see the writing on the wall and all 4 would be welcomed to the Big 10.

Just my 2 cents.

TigerInGA
TigerInGA

IMHO. Somehow, I just see the governors in SC, GA and FL getting involved just like VA's governor did in recent ACC expansion, or TX governor and legislature with A&M. I think those governors in SC, GA and FL will tell their Presidents and Chancellors (USC, FL, UGA) to vote for FSU, CU and GiT so they will not be left behind in a sub-par ACC. If any schools leave the ACC, the conference is doomed to be more a basketball league than football (see BigEast).

Dawgbite
Dawgbite

Vicious, no more hillbillies allowed in the SEC, the urange hillbillies are out. They are a SEC wannabe

BamaJim
BamaJim

Agree with ViciousDawg

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Reminder...

No cursing -- except by us! -- in the comment section.

And no free advertising... so please don't link to articles at other sites.

Many thanks,
John

Dawg 96
Dawg 96

Just providing food for thought. I wouldn't call it a tip, but it might merit a discussion.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Dawg 96...

I understand and I read your piece. But if we let one person post links to his work we'll have to let everyone. And we've had some copycat sites come in here and try to siphon off traffic with links.

Personally, I'd like to see Georgia Tech in the SEC. There's history there, Tech would bring more academic clout to the league, and Grant Field isn't too far from The Varsity!

But I just don't think from a business sense that Tech is on the top of the list. We'll see.

John

Dawg 96
Dawg 96

Also, let me add this: UGA President Michael Adams is all about academics and was a leading candidate to become NCAA President. He loves to make "statements" and be respected as a leader. It would not be a stretch for Adams to NOT block Georgia Tech, and in fact endorse their membership invite, which would almost guarantee an invite. Adams knows he would upset plenty of UGA fans, but that's nothing new for Adams (see Vince Dooley). But he also knows that he would be seen as the gatekeeper who allowed Tech back into the league, be the center of positive national attention and create a legacy for himself. And keep in mind that he is one of Mike Slive's confidants and is in regular contact with him. This could be the announcement that catches everyone by surprise.

ViciousDawg
ViciousDawg

Oh and John I do respect everything you guys do at MrSEC to try and keep us caught up. Great job trying to cover 12 schools. Its got to be tough trying to keep up with everything that's going on.

VicousDawg
VicousDawg

Why does this site and many others keep dicounting Clemson? Have you looked up Clemsons record? They play the SEC in OOC games every year. They are a natural fit in the SEC, even the evil genius has said as much.

guest
guest

Clemson, really???? If you look at Clemson's all time record vs SEC schools other than South Carolina, its horrible. And now, South Carolina, with 2 straight blowout wins over Clemson, clearly has passed their program. Plus, the entire Clemson athletic department pretty much blows. Its not the 1980's anymore and Danny Ford was a cheater.

And to the post above about UNC......uh, yea...they care so much about academics that they are currently embroiled with the NCAA in a huge academic cheating scandal with athletes. Give me a break.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

VicousDawg...

Clemson and Georgia Tech -- from a business sense -- just don't bring much to the table. The SEC can already claim all of the TV markets in those states thanks to USC and UGA. They bring no new recruiting ground, they do not increase the league's geographic football, either. And like it or not, those issues have more to do with expansion in the current TV-driven environment than football success.

While Florida State brings no new ground or TV markets, either, FSU is one of the top brands in America. Like Nebraska or Alabama or Southern Cal, FSU is a national draw for TV viewers. That's why -- of all the schools currently in the SEC footprint -- we believe FSU would be the one and only good fit to join the league.

If, of course, there is no "gentleman's agreement" to keep them out.

Nothing against Clemson or Tech, mind you. They'd both fit right in with the current SEC schools. But expansion is about business. And neither would jack up the value of the SEC's TV rights. (That said, we never say never... so if the SEC adds one or both, we won't pass out from shock.)

Thanks for reading the site,
John

Guest
Guest

UNC and Duke will never join the SEC. They actually care about academics. Aside from Vandy, UGA and FLA the SEC is horrid in this regard. The mere suggestion of these two considering the SEC is beyond laughable.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Guest...

We've noted on many occasions that schools move in large part due to academic affiliations. It's presidents and board members who make these decisions, not coaches and fans. However, multiple reports for more than a year have suggested Slive dreams of landing UNC and Duke. And if the ACC takes a body blow over the NCAA/Miami issue, who knows what UNC and Duke might do.

As we stated in the piece, anything is possible. You should keep that in mind.

John

@mikerapp
@mikerapp

John, While Slive would no doubt love to add UNc and Duke, the ACC is a very proud conference and the suggestion that any of the Tobacco Road schools would even consider a move that would validate the SEC is a non-starter. the old garde sees Miami as a half brother that was only added to make the ACC more like the SEC in football. The original eight would be just fine to boot Miami and add UConn than even breathe the idea of moving to the SEC.

The more I think about this the more I believe Slive will add aTm and either TCU or Texas Tech. Then, when the Big 9 officially collapses they will add Oklahoma and OSU.

Personally I think the SEC should add Louisville. It would give the SEC a basketball rivalry on a par with UNC and Duke.

Guest
Guest

I have no doubt that Slive's dream would be landing these two schools. It would completely validate the conference's basketball bonafidis and open up the SEC to that state's ever expanding population. Not to mention add considerable clout to the conference's academic image.

But, like you say the people making these decisions are school presidents and board members. To think those types would want to affiliate themselves with a lesser conference from an academic perspective is just a bridge to far IMO. Of course I could be wrong on this front.

I'd say Clemson, FSU, VTech are all much more realistic options for the SEC....even with the displeasure Florida and SCAR would surely have with Clemson and FSU joining.

Guest
Guest

While the SEC is no doubt a lesser academic group than the ACC, the only one that is close would be the Big10. They are not likely to dip into North Carolina. The Big East's academic profile is worse than the SECs.

Also the SEC academics is not poorly ranked, outside of Mississippi. Those are the only non Tier 1 schools in the conference, with most schools being ranked top 100 or better. While I do not see UNC and Duke as a fit their options shallow up if the ACC destabilizes and other programs start to bolt.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

This is one reason why I think that the SEC will only go to 14 right now. It might be to early for an ACC school to jump ship. However they might be willing to look at options. So go to 14 for now, and keep working behind the scenes to see if something happens to the East.

This is also why the B12 will always be unstable. As long as the conference is wrapped around Texas and OU, if one of those schools stumbles - the conference as a whole suffers. The main reason TAMU is wanting to beat a path East, long term stability. I really don't think the Longhorn Network is much of a motivation for TAMU, it is just an easy sell to the masses.

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