(U-WIRE) CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – It’s official. The Atlantic Coast Conference has opened its doors, and the University of Miami and Virginia Tech have walked right in. The schools will begin ACC play in 2004-2005.
Miami turned down a financially lucrative last effort by the Big East to keep the Hurricanes in that conference. In the end, though, the ACC got its prized recruit with Miami and a somewhat surprising pickup in Virginia Tech.
Initial expansion proposals, introduced seven weeks ago, would have added three schools to the ACC: Boston College, Syracuse and Miami. When plans for the 12-team model fell through, University of Virginia President John T. Casteen renewed his efforts in favor of Virginia Tech.
The addition of the Hokies and the Hurricanes strengthens the ACC as a football conference. Florida State,Maryland, NC State and Virginia, as well as new members Miami and Virginia Tech all finished last season in the top 22, as ranked by the Associated Press. This football strength could help the ACC in the pursuit of lucrative television and BCS contracts.
Adding Miami and Virginia Tech to the ACC did not put an end to legal challenges to expansion.
“Our lawsuit is now a certainty. We will pursue this legal action tenaciously and vigorously – seeking remedies on a fast track,” Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a June 30 press release.
Virginia Tech withdrew from the lawsuit when it decided to accept the ACC’s invitation. Boston College was dropped as a defendant when they did not receive an official invitation.