Greatest Accomplishment for Syracuse? Moving to the ACC Quickly & Silently

It’s almost impossible to believe major conference realignment happened over a weekend.

Despite torn emotions over Syracuse leaving the only home its ever had, one thing is indisputable: Daryl Gross and Nancy Cantor pulled a major coup by doing it under a cloak of secrecy.

In an age of hyper-attention to conference realignment, internet speculation and instantaneous rumor-mongering via Twitter, it’s mind-blowing SU and Pitt could move conferences essentially overnight. Think about it: You likely finished your work week at 5p on Friday with no knowledge of a potential move. By the time you were back at the office today, SU had changes alliances.

Friday evening, we had the New York Times reports that the two schools could leave for the ACC. By Sunday morning, there was a conference call making it official. Think about the tug of war Texas has gone through about leaving the Big 12. Look at the daily speculation surrounding the next move by the Big 10. The future of the Big East is a source of constant debate.

And yet somehow SU and Putt achieved what no other schools seem to have been able to do: a clean, concise exit. This is not to suggest both programs will find it a smooth transition over the next two years. One would imagine ugly scenes at the sites of the schools left behind in the chaos (much the same way we treated those evil dissenters Miami, Va Tech and BC seven years ago).

But the powers at both Syracuse, Pitt and the ACC deserve credit for pulling off the impossible: switching BCS conferences over the course of a weekend. Clearly, the athletic departments at both schools quietly reached out to the ACC (or vice versa) and maneuvered in almost complete silence. If Doug Marrone and Jim Boeheim knew the details, kudos to both as well for keeping this so close to the vest. Because telling one wife, could lead to one neighbor, that ends up on Twitter, complicating the entire situation.

It’s an internally confusing time for every Orange fan. Is leaving behind the relationships of 30 years for the presumed stability of a new league the right move? Probably. One thing is as clear as a bright, frigid February morning in CNY: the seemingly overnight process was devastatingly efficient.

Posted: D.A.

37 Comments on this Post

  1. irishmist

    basically it was sleasy and underhanded. and in the present state, as hugenin the media sportswriter pointed out, its ludicrous to think that su and pitt are gonna add anything footballwise to the acc. as well, su and pitt, being mostly private colleges.. have to compete with land grant colleges. ask wake forest and duke. vanderbilt, northwestern, how that turns out with football programs course stanford is doing ok, and there is always well, as boston college now has found out, a real bias when it comes to a yankee” college being sent by acc to a prime bowl. as well, su shares nothing in common with the geo and cultural values found in the acc.cept for florida, we do little recruiting in the south. the new big east could hae pro active, and added east carolina and central florida months ago. i would assume su and pitt are going to compete with wake forest and duke for the acc football doormat status. funny, the same outrage directed at bc for being a traitor and turncoat is absent with the typical su fan today

  2. Wake Forest won the ACC championship a couple years ago and BC has won two division titles despite never winning anything in the BE.

    You’re missing the big picture. SU no longer has to sit in a room with people arguing about whether to add Villanova or Central Florida or East Carolina or whether more non-football schools need to be added to keep the Catholic schools happy.

    That alone makes the move worth it.

  3. What does Coach Boeheim have to say? I think he and Marrone have the most to win or lose in this situation and I know Dr Gross and Nancy pulled a fast one on Boeheim and Marrone without consulting them.

    In one weekend they changed the future of SU Sports and our traditions. I only wish the best for my Alma Mater and the atheletes and students at SU.

  4. KevMonstah

    Hey guys. I’ll be the first to say, I wish the Big East was a solid hoops and football league, but it wasn’t. The problem is just the sports culture mismatch in the northeast and the college focus: small, private schools cannot easily support highend football teams as they can other sports. Football isn’t religion up here.

    Agreed that the debate is no longer whether to add the leftovers, but now you get a stronger league, and the hoops quality doesn’t drop much, if any. The football division SU would be in is winnable.

    And I doubt JB or Marrone were completely blindsided by this. They were probably asked what they’d like to do, what they could do, and what they wouldn’t do.


  5. In the end, they made the right move. Zibby is right – I think the school saw that basketball schools had way too much power in the Big East and very little leverage, so they turned the tables and in turn showed schools like Providence and Seton Hall how little power they had. In the end, the ACC has been the smartest of the two conferences all along, making it harder for their teams to leave while looking to add strong teams to the conference. As much as I don’t like the ACC in general, I think it will benefit SU in the long run.

  6. It still the FB vs BB debate. Again fall/winter tradition for football with “every game” means something. While BB is really a March sport. The $$$ and tradition is with FB. One of our main problems with this FB program is its limited traditions. Oh I know your crazy Express, but think about it. Ohio State/Mich, SEC U’s, Big 12, and even ND have a tradition weekly or game day. What’s the CUSE’s. Watch the band on the church steps just before game time. HCDM/Dr Gross have to enlighten some kind of new tradition. It will take time but now is the time!!!

  7. If the goal is to win NATIONAL championships, this gets us closer. Maybe not in the next five years, but someday. The reaction to UConn in the Fiesta Bowl last year was embarrassing to the league, and I would not be shocked that the Big East did not lose its BCS berth very soon. Without a BCS berth, we might as well play I-AA.

  8. irish mist

    as noted: ask bc is they are happy with the bowl games the acc sent them to. course, they dont travel well with fans anyways. and wake forest, winning the acc or whatever, is not ever gonna be a constant, period. south florida was developing a strong program, and central florida beat a down ga team in bowl game. and if u think for the most part, u are gonna sucessfully recruit in acc country, u are in for a big surprize. be interesting if the other big east teams, file suite in court vs perficious su and pitt and make them increase their buyout”. as well, tcu should withdraw their bif fo rthe big east and join a texas teams based conference,they were sucker punched to by su and pitt.

  9. irish mist

    syracuse and pitt basically could be termed wanna be leftovers. cause i have the funny feeling that the acc is totally desparate.namely.. i figure that clemson, GT, florida state, miami, and VT are ready to jump.straight to the SEC.which means the acc naturally will become even more of second rate football conference that is allready is.about one tiny level above the late big east.

  10. irish mist,
    i think u r dellusional

  11. I’m going to apologize in advance to Irish Mist. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’m happy to read yours. But, you really must use spell check or at least proof read your post and make some attempt to write in a an intelligent, coherent manner. I don’t like to be the grammar police but your posts are nearly impossible to read. Although I disagree with just about everything you’ve said (or my best possible translation of your words) I do have to agree with the TCU topic you’ve addressed. I’m sure TCU was lured, in part, with the promises of a growing football focus in the BE and the opportunity for an auto-BCS bid. Their football team is not off to the same start this year as the past few but that is somewhat beside the point. They won’t reach their goals with the BE, not now anyway. As for the real topic, this was a necessary move for SU. What do you think would have happened if SU stayed put? Where else would you like to see them go in a year or two and what kind of options do you think they would have by delaying a move? These questions are for everyone, both support and opposition to this development. If anyone really considers the options and the potential outcomes, it becomes pretty obvious that SU has made the right choice. Like it or not, the BE is going to be torn apart and SU would not have been able to prevent it.

  12. I was at the USC game and Gross was interviewed on USC radio before the game. He was directly asked about the report of 2 schools moving to the ACC and obviously declined comment on that specifically, but did suggest SU as well as lots of other schools were actively seeking the best solution to the changing world of conferences. He knew what had already happened when he was asked that question.

  13. Irish Mist… What are you drinking or smoking? This is a great move for Syracuse period… The Big East was put together with little thought concerning the present economic engine that drives colleges sports. The mixture of basketball and non basketball schools made the present configuration of the conference unwieldy and not flexible enough to adapt to change… We had to get off the Titanic ……it is sinking….. Kudos to Dr. Gross and Nancy,as an Alum, I am proud of your proactivity to protect Syracuse’s ..interests…. That is All I care about.. our interests, and our leadership protected that, now Irish…. are you a Cuse Man or a Notre Dame Dude,, because fans who bleed Orange have to love this move

  14. My apology.. I meant to say Football and non football schools in the BE…. that is the problem.

  15. John Marinatto the BE commissoner fell asleep at the wheel plain an simple. Last summer when Neb. and CU left the big 12 marinatto should have been on the phone /w mizzo,baylor,k-state and KU. He also should have started working on kicking out every non football playing school. Then they should have brought this to ND and put their foot down. I mean is it that hard to bring them in /w a promise they could keep their deal to NBC? I mean the same promise is going to be made to texas where ever they decided to go. Doing that coming into the fall would have solidified the BE and in return put the ACC on thin ice. Now u go after BC, maryland an Tech to join an boom BE is a super power. Just think you would have had Baylor,TCU,UCONN,USF an MIZZO some of the best up an coming football programs an at the samtime you have ND,VT,BC,SU with football rich history. Sad and extremely poor leadership. In the end SU made sure when the music stops they will have a seat at the table and how can you call that “underhanded” or any # of the things the espn ppl have wirtten the past few days?

    I saw somone ask what Jimmy B thought of all this and i bet he’s pissed. Think about it he spent 33 years building the BE. How would you feel if the school u coached at destoryed somthing u had a big hand in building? I thought he had 3-4 yrs left as HC but now i wouldnt be surprized if he rode off into the sunset at the end of this season. He wouldnt be hanging SU out to dry b/c hes hand groomed his successor and to be honest hes earned his right to leave whenever and however he wants to.

  16. The reason the Big 12 is falling apart is that Texas got the majority of the current contract and everyone else was left holding their hands out for the leftovers and decided that they weren’t going to play second fiddle to Longhorns.

    When Jim Boeheim took over the program, syracuse tried to get a series with North Carolina. The response from Dean Smith was that they wouldn’t come north unless Syracuse spotted them 20 points to start the game. Every time that Duke and North Carolina have come to the Eastern Regional’s they’ve lost. Poor souls.

    Let’s face the fact that Duke and North Carolina are the power brokers of the ACC with everyone yes everyone playing second fiddle to them. I’m just wondering how Syracuse will handle playing second fiddle to the likes of the Duke and Tar Heels?

    The ACC isn’t going to come North to play their basketball tournament at the Garden or their football championship game at Giants Stadium. So everyone, let’s come to grips with the fact that a woman from Illinois and a black man from California have ruined Syracuse Athletics for years to come and also face the fact that the fans doen’t matter and were never considered when these two made up their minds to jump ship.

    I’m happy that we are going to play Boston College and Maryland again, and for the rest of the ACC, they can all go straight to hell.

    DR. Gross and Nancy Cantor, thank you for ruining the Big East. You worry about the attendance for a football game,wait until the ACC teams start coming here. You wanna talk about being empty?

  17. Let all of us step back and ask the questions as to why. Why are schools jumping ship and forming 4–16 team super conferences? Is it to break away from the NCAA and all of their arcaic rules that are in place? Will the 4 superconferences start paying their players? Will the BCS be desolved? Will the NCAA governing body be desolved? Will the 4 superconferences hold their own 64 team basketball tournament at the end of the year and keep the $9 billion that the NCAA gets over 7 years from the tv contract that they have with ESPN & CBS? Will forming the superconferences lead to a playoff system to crown a true national champion in football?

    I hope the people that are making these decisions realize that they are hurting a lot of people and in some cases turn them off from college athletics all together.

    As the old saying goes “all good things eventually comes to an end”. What happens then,when all of this doesn’t work and it comes to and end? Will everyone forget about the people they left behind and the hurt feelings they caused when they wanted to improve their own standings by jumping conferences?

    You all have to remember,a year after the
    Big East was formed the media started yelling that it wouldn’t work and couldn’t last. They’ve been saying that for thirty years and now it’s official the Big East is dead. How sad,how sad.

  18. Ron ur right the NCAA is going to fall apart. Thats my best guess into why they havent said a thing during all this. Your wrong though in regards to UNC and Duke. Football runs the conf. and Duke program sucks and UNC is going on probation for proably the next 5-8 yrs. They arent the “power” brokers u think they are. Mark my words 2-5 yrs the ACC will have its names slapped across the garden floor in march. Simple really NYC is the biggest media market in the world not some podunk town in NC sorry. Same goes for football. All these moves where for the dolla dolla bills u dont think having ur stuff at msg and the Gmens staduims doesnt bump the price tag up alot when selling it to espn? ur crazy man. SU will be fine.

  19. I would just like to point out, to those that are saying that SU is ruining or destroying the BE, that your logic is completely backwards. SU, Pitt and whoever else decides to leave the Beast are not destroying the conference. Rather the conference can not survive the realignment (at least not as a contender or anything resembling its current state). Gross and Cantor saw and understood this and made an unpopular decision with the best interests of the university and its athletics programs in mind. And, they did so quickly to avoid tremendous pressure to stay in a dying conference for the sake of tradition and to make sure that SU was not left out in the cold when all the chips fall. The fall of the BE was and is inevitable, sad as it may be.

  20. irishmist…you really are just throwing out wildly negative speculations with no factual backing whatsoever. if this isn’t the right move…what is? everyone who says this is bad or the wrong move…please tell us…what is the right move? what should syracuse have done? sit and wait for pitt and uconn and whoever else to go to the ACC? then our football program dies when the big east dies. nobody loves leaving the big east but you really need to ask yourself if there were any other options. there wasn’t.

  21. irishmist

    i have to agree, with carlton. both marinatto and the previous head of big east were losers and asleep at the wheel big time.they could have been proactive and approached maryland, as well as say central florida. and told nd to either join or leave the entire sports and dr gross is s shifty, duplctious rascal, as well has his partner in crime, from illinos, ms cantor. as everyone well knows, they are total affimative action appointees.if anyone couple years ago, would have predicted the upheaval in college football they too would have been termed delusional”. sure as the sun rises in the east, ye ould acc is running scared big time. and found a couple of wanna be patseys in SU and PITT. neither of which as we have just seen, are at present time ever gonna be confused with big time programs like USC, bama, UT, etc. cause its laugable. naturalich/naturellment.. if VT,FSU,MIAMI,GT, CLEMSON are offered by the SEC- its adios time . and better believe that is down the road. so the joke may be on SU and PITT after all.

  22. I think everyone(even the fizz) has missed the biggest loss in moving to the acc….no more dome beers ahhhhh! BE is the only conf. that allows the sale of alcohol. A very sad day indeed.

  23. Boston Jay

    How are we even going to compete in the ACC in football? we’re still basically a doormat in the Big East and what are we 2-17 or whatever against the ACC since the 90s? And some of those losses were when we were actually respectable. Also, keep in mind we’ll probably be playing nine conference games a year. It will be an uphill battle to get to 6-6.

  24. irish mist

    it-will sorta be like deja vu time as boston j says. it its a struggle to play say cinci adn louisville right now, wait till we go back to getting thumped again by VT and miami! m uch less fsu or GT. we are not even frontrunners in the big east and have been so in years, now we are suddenly gonna be a sucess with marrone and his wanna be new orleans saint offense?

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