Interview with former BE Commish Mike Tranghese. States ACC’s last expansion was about hoops, and that the ACC is now the vulnerable one.
Q. Seven years ago when the ACC made its raid into the Big East for more teams, you stood up at the Big East meetings in Florida and said that the ramifications of the move would be felt for years. With all that has happened, you were basically right, weren’t you?
A. I remember when I said it, Donna (President of the University of Miami) Shalala said that I had over reacted. I remember when a reporter called me about her comment, I said, “I haven’t over reacted. This is just the start.” It had an incredible ripple effect. Interesting enough, I think the ACC has already felt it on the football side. Look at it, the ACC is now the bottom now. They are going to be the next target in football. If I need a school, where are you going? I just don’t think that’s good. I hear people saying we’re going to have four super conferences and that’s great. All that does is create less winners and more losers.
Q. Twenty years ago, you and former ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan talked about having a Big East-ACC football federation, would it have worked?
A. I would have done it in a heartbeat. But Gene said he couldn’t sell his members on anything but full membership. And I understood that. But if it had been done, the ACC would have its original teams in basketball, the Big East would have its original teams and both would have been pretty successful. And the ACC would have been better in football. The ACC can get better in football; it’s just that the two programs they expected to carry it (Miami and Florida State) just haven’t done it.
Q. What about the ACC expansion plans and the Big East?
A. I’ve read a lot of things about the expansion and what ACC officials have said. I just don’t believe anything I’ve read. You are not going to convince me they took Syracuse and Pitt just for football. It was pure basketball. They were sick of getting beaten up by the Big East so they tried to destroy the Big East. They said that was not their intention, but it has to be your intention. You have to be an idiot not to know what taking Syracuse and Pitt would do to the Big East.