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Monday, September 26, 2011
Gov.: ACC's UConn call not likely soon

ESPN.com news services

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut's governor confirmed on Monday that the University of Connecticut is interested in becoming part of the Atlantic Coast Conference should that league expand to 16 teams.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, speaking to reporters outside his Capitol office, said he no longer expects the ACC to act quickly after adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East earlier this month.

"I think there was expectancy built up initially that this was quickly going to be resolved," he said. "That's clearly not the case. The ACC has the first decision to make and that's whether they're going to stay at 14 teams or stay at 16. I know that there's one team, one school that they would like to get into the ACC that would guarantee them going to 16 teams and that's been speculated to be Notre Dame. I suspect that that's true. I don't know how likely that is to happen or not happen. Although, I tend to think it's not terribly likely."

Malloy said if Notre Dame isn't interested the ACC must decide if there is any compelling reason to expand again.

"Beyond that, then you fall back to the Big East," he said "The Big East then has to rebuild itself to fill the loss of the two teams that left and has to worry about its ability to compete on the major sports of basketball and football in particular, as well as how do we make that work for student athletes."

Malloy, a Boston College alumnus, said he has had a half dozen conversations with University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst about the move, but would not say whether he has lobbied officials at his old school about supporting a bid from UConn.

Herbst addressed her school's future in a statement released last Wednesday.

"The past several days have magnified the period of instability that exists today in the world of college athletics. I want to say thank you to all of our loyal supporters and fans of UConn and our athletic programs for their patience during this time," she said. "Please know that we will always do what is in the best interests for the University of Connecticut."

A source with knowledge of last week's meeting of leaders of the football-playing members of the surviving Big East schools told ESPN.com's Andy Katz that UConn didn't pledge to remain in the league and is still actively pursuing membership in the ACC.

Villanova, a Colonial Athletic Association team in football that won the FCS championship in 2009, wants to be considered as a candidate for the Big East, according to a source. The Wildcats already are in the Big East in basketball.

But the source said that with the Big 12 likely staying intact, at least nine schools other than the Huskies may have to wait for the ACC to decide if it will add two more schools to extend the league's membership to 16.

"The ACC is the preferred place for (Connecticut)," the source said. "That hasn't changed."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.