Here’s my four for ACC expansion

Published 9:13 am Saturday, June 12, 2010

Conference expansion is the topic of choice amongst most fans of college athletics at the moment.

With the Big Ten, PAC-10 and Southeastern Conference appearing ready to expand or having already made moves, people are wondering about what will happen to the landscape of collegiate athletics.

I live in North Carolina and I was born and reared here, which means the league I’m most concerned about is the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Since the league expanded to bring in Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech, I’ve been advocating at least the expansion to 14 teams.

Now that it looks like a 16-team league is in the future of the PAC-10 and maybe the Big Ten, I’ve decided to up the ante and give you my choices for expansion in the ACC.

First of all, I have been advocating membership for the State University of New Jersey (that’s Rutgers for those of you who don’t know) since the ACC first discussed expanding.

The Scarlet Knights bring a lot to the table when it comes to the ACC. First of all, they are competitive in most every sport. They also have an excellent academic and athletic tradition.

More importantly in modern day athletics, the television market could be huge for the league. I think they’re a great fit and I’m certain they belong in the ACC.

My next choice would be West Virginia. I don’t like the Mountaineers. I really don’t like basketball coach Bob Huggins. I am not convinced they are as good an academic institution as most of the schools in the ACC.

Having said all that, West Virginia has a state full of followers and would be a prominent player in both football and basketball. They would be a difference maker in the long run and I think they should be included in the conference.

Next is the big fish: Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish would make a great addition to the Atlantic Coast Conference. They may not fit as well geographically as the other two, but they would make a nice addition in every way.

Notre Dame’s reputation as a football school may have been tarnished, but the lore of the school itself is intact. It remains one of the best universities in the country and the athletic program is run on a top-notch basis.

I like the idea of lining up against the Irish every couple of years.

That brings me to my fourth and final pick for admission to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

There are a number of teams that could make a case for belonging in the ACC. Rhode Island is a team that has merit as does Delaware and even Syracuse or the University of South Florida.

My final choice, however, would be the University of Pittsburgh. Why is that you may ask? I’ll give you a few reasons.

1. The Pittsburgh television market would be open to the ACC and its member teams.

2. The school is better than the Big East Conference.

3. It’s easier to move West Virginia and Pitt together than it is to take one or the other.

There you have my four candidates for ACC expansion, although I admit my call from Commissioner John Swofford requesting my opinion must have gotten delayed.

Do you have opinions about ACC expansion? I’d love to hear them.

Thadd White is Sports Editor and Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached via email at or by telephone at 332-7211.