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Pitt And The ACC: Almost A Done Deal, But Was It Right?

The major storyline of the past 24 hours has been Pitt and Syracuse being interested, then applying, and most likely being accepted by the ACC to be the 13th and 14th members of the conference. John Marinatto, being on top of everything, didn't find out until Brett McMurphy of called him at a pressbox during the Maryland/WVU game. This is the man we chose as our commissioner...

Louisville AD Tom Jurich, prior to the start of the Louisville/Kentucky game, essentially said it was a done deal. UNC AD Dick Braddour also confirmed it, saying that expansion was the right thing to do.

Was it the right thing to do, though? I agree that Pitt should go to the ACC as it is a much more stable conference. But as you can imagine, the Big East is shocked and disappointed. Syracuse and Pitt were, respectively, a founding member of the league and a member who was a leader in preserving the conference after the 2003 raid. Nordy, after all, is the man who was in charge of the group that selected and eventually hired Marinatto. Pitt was one of the schools that decided that the Big East didn't need to agree to an extension with ESPN for the new media deal and that the football members shouldn't admit Villanova. It's very possible that Pitt and/or Syracuse will see some sort of lawsuit from the Big East because of all this.

However, Pitt has to look out for Pitt. Not Louisville or West Virginia or Rutgers or any of the Big East schools. And most importantly, Pitt should not have to look out for the Big East. The Big East has done great things for Pitt and Pitt has done great things for the Big East, but with the way college athletics is shaping, the Big East looks to be on its last legs - especially if Pitt and Syracuse do ultimately end up in the ACC. West Virginia will almost certainly try to head to the SEC or the ACC. Rutgers and UConn will hold out for invites from the B1G or the ACC. It's very unlikely that the Big East football conference would survive such a blow.

If Pitt ignores this invite and tries to save the Big East, imagine the outcry from the Pitt community if the Big East folds. It would set the Pitt athletic department back years. Pitt has progressed nicely, sending out solid football, basketball, and wrestling teams while continuing to upgrade it's facilities, having completed the Peterson Sports Complex last spring to house the soccer, baseball. and softball teams. Pitt is also working to add a track stadium for the track and field teams. Pitt has done well to get this far. Now it's time to take the next step as an athletic department.