It reads like this:
“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.”
It was signed by the following members of the Council of Presidents:
- Fr. William Leahy, Boston College
- Mr. James Barker, Clemson University
- Dr. Richard Brodhead, Duke University
- Dr. Eric Barron, Florida State University
- Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Dr. James Ramsey, University of Louisville
- Dr. Donna Shalala, University of Miami
- Dr. Holden Thorp, University of North Carolina
- Dr. Randy Woodson, North Carolina State University
- Fr. John Jenkins, University of Notre Dame
- Dr. Mark Nordenberg, University of Pittsburgh
- Dr. Nancy Cantor, Syracuse University
- Dr. Teresa Sullivan, University of Virginia
- Dr. Charles Steger, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
- Dr. Nathan Hatch, Wake Forest University
What does this mean? Well, not a whole heck of a lot. It’s a statement, nothing more. I joked on Twitter that it has about as much of a legal standing as a BFF necklace. (Others went with a promise ring reference, which I respect.) Not that it was ever meant as a legal device. I’m sure it was just put together as a way for the presidents to stop having to answer questions every day about realignment.
In fact, friend of the blog David Morrison of the Greensboro News & Record reported that the impetus for the statement was made by officials from Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson, aka the schools at the center of all the realignment rumors.
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples made a good point about this: the ACC will be fine only if other leagues decide not to pursue its members. The $50 million buyout saga with Maryland, which will go to the courts, will be something to watch. If that sticks, it’s at least something of an impediment to the ACC’s members being ripe for poaching. If it doesn’t, that makes it all the easier. Either way, today’s statement has no effect.
Don’t believe me? Look at the list of names who signed it. It includes seven presidents from schools that have left the Big East in the last decade. That tells you about how much the statement means.