Hoops And Recruiting Hurt By Realignment
Point-Counterpoint: Does ACC Expansion Benefit BC? No.
Published: Monday, October 3, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The wave of conference realignment in the NCAA has finally hit Boston College and it may not be for the best. On Sept. 18, the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University moved from the Big East to the ACC, with obvious ramifications for the Eagles when the Panthers and Orange enter conference play after their 27-month farewell tour in the Big East. As good as it sounds to be following in the footsteps of other prestigious conferences such as the newly realigned SEC and Pac-12, expansion of the ACC does nothing to help BC.
For football, the ACC adds two mediocre teams, which may prove to be competitive for BC but does nothing to improve the prestige of the conference. The truth is that the Pitt Panthers and Syracuse Orange have minimal history in football and the BC football program, though struggling right now, arguably holds a higher standing in people's minds due to its recent success.
Basketball is the opposite: adding a program like Syracuse is a great addition to the likes of UNC and Duke in terms of prestige and history. However, both Pitt and Syracuse are top programs right now, and BC is coming off a mediocre year. Last year, the Eagles finished 9-7 in the ACC and failed to make the NCAA tournament for the third time in the last four years. It will be extremely hard for the Eagles to win a game against either of these teams when they join, which could cause them to struggle mightily in ACC play.
Another area where ACC expansion will hurt the Eagles is recruiting. Recruits will be much more drawn to Pittsburgh and Syracuse, as the ACC will now be a much more prestigious conference than the Big East. Basketball recruits will see the prospects of playing the likes of the UNC Tarheels and the Duke Blue Devils, two of the biggest programs in the nation. For football, the University of Miami and Florida State are much more prominent programs than anything the Big East has to offer. As a result, BC will certainly lose recruits to these schools, which will not help transitioning the football and basketball programs to the powerhouses that they have been in the past.
In terms of other sports, Pitt and Syracuse both struggle in men's soccer, which will do little to help the Eagles prepare for NCAA tournament play. The same goes for women's soccer, where Pitt and Syracuse are currently performing poorly and will add little competition to prepare the Eagles for a deep NCAA tournament run. Pittsburgh also has an extremely reputable volleyball program, which will not help the Eagles, who are already struggling as it is.
Above all else, ACC expansion makes the conference less stable. Before Pitt and Syracuse joined, the ACC was the only conference who had not joined in on the country-wide conference realignment fiasco. Now we're at the center of it. The president of Syracuse University said, "Overall, for Syracuse, this opportunity provides long-term conference stability in what is an uncertain, evolving, and rapidly shifting national landscape." This is certainly false. Now that the ACC is part of realignment, it would not be surprising if BC was playing in another conference 10 years from now.
Overall, conference realignment is a major problem for BC. It adds instability to what was a stable conference, will cause the Eagles basketball team to struggle, adds little reputation to the ACC in football, and will cause a loss of recruits to BC. Unfortunately, there is nothing BC can do to fix this situation, and the ACC may expand further from 14 to 16 teams, which would only be desirable if Notre Dame joined the conference. Conference realignment is a major blow to BC athletics. The administration must try its best to improve its programs before Pitt and Syracuse officially enter ACC play in a couple years.