Hurricanes Athletic Director: "We Are Committed to the ACC"
Despite reports the University of Miami had reached out to the Big 12 conference to gauge interest in a possible move in case several ACC members leave for more Midwestern pastures, athletic director Shawn Eichorst has broken his silence on the matter. He laims the U is "committed to the ACC."
Eichorst also clarified that the school has not even had informal contact with another conference.
Here's the statement Eichorst released through the University's social media sites, including its Tumblr:
We are so fortunate at Miami. Our University, under past and present visionary leadership and with an 87-year history of achievement, is strong in our foundation and in our beliefs. It allows us to stay steady when there are stormy seas, and that core strength holds us together today more than ever.
Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004, the University of Miami has worked hard to measure up to the high academic and athletic standards set by our peers and we could not be more proud than to call the ACC our home. We are confident in our progress and in our accomplishments, yet there is still much work to be done. We are committed to the ACC and to doing our part to continue the tradition of excellence across the board. In that regard, we have not engaged in any formal or informal discussions with any other conferences.
The additions of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University, as well as the new exclusive television partnership with ESPN, signal the very strength and nationwide appeal of the ACC. Fans will be able to watch more ACC sports and more ACC games in more ways than ever before with the most powerful brand in sports behind us. This is an exciting time to be a part of the ACC and we are honored and humbled to be among its members.
The mention of "academic standards" is no surprise. It mirrors comments from a trustee who said that the Big 12 wouldn't be a good academic fit for the University. President Donna Shalala hasn't spoken on the topic, but Lord knows she relishes that the school would be associated with academic powerhouses like University of Virginia and Duke through the conference.
However, there have been rumors floating about that FSU and Clemson are also flirting with the Big 12. Both schools have denied they've had any official discussions with the Texas-centric conference.
Of course, if the ACC did lose some of its marquee football members and the U stayed behind, it could be a major blow to a once great football brand that's struggling to regain relevance.
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