The constant speculation surrounding the ACC has taken on a life of its own.
Yes, the league lost Maryland.
No, the league is not quite falling apart.
To that end, the Council of Presidents unanimously agreed to issue a statement Thursday to try and put an end to the speculation once and for all:
“We, the undersigned presidents of the Atlantic Coast Conference, wish to express our commitment to preserve and protect the future of our outstanding league. We want to be clear that the speculation about ACC schools in negotiations or considering alternatives to the ACC are totally false. The presidents of the ACC are united in our commitment to a strong and enduring conference. The ACC has long been a leader in intercollegiate athletics, both academically and athletically, and the constitution of our existing and future member schools will maintain the ACC’s position as one of the nation’s premier conferences.”
All 15 ACC university leaders signed the statement.
This was not something the league office forced these presidents to do to quit all the yammering in cyberspace. Nope. The idea for the statement came from the leaders at Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson to quit all the yammering once and for all. What do all these schools have in common? They have been the sources of rampant speculation that they would be the next ones out the door.
Now, the cynics out there will point out the statement is just a bunch of words. We have seen many schools say one thing and do another during conference realignment. The events of the last several years have led many fans to become skeptical about the intentions of coaches, programs and conferences. It is understandable that eyebrows are raised.
But this statement was not randomly thrown together. Consider:
There was unanimous support to sue Maryland to ensure it pays every penny of the $50 million owed in exit fees.
North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia Tech have each come out with their own statements in the past week affirming their commitment to the ACC.
There was unanimous support to add Louisville, an athletic program much better positioned than Maryland at this point in time.
The prevailing thought inside the ACC is that Maryland is an outlier, that this latest statement should prove these schools are committed to moving forward together. These presidents and chancellors are simply tired of hearing about the same old misinformation and false speculation.
So they are hoping this statement shows once and for all they are committed to this league, and to each other.