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Brand Says NCAA 'Has No Role To Play' In ACC-Big East Discussion

Posted May 23, 2003

— The NCAA is staying out of the fight as the Atlantic Coast Conference tries to lure Miami, Syracuse and Boston College from the Big East.

NCAA president Myles Brand said Friday he has not talked with Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese or ACC commissioner John Swofford and intends to let the schools and the conferences make their own decisions.

"The role of the NCAA is to support our member institutions," Brand told The Associated Press. "However they align is up to them."

Last week, the ACC voted to invite the three Big East schools to join its conference. The Big East responded by making a pitch intended to keep the schools from moving.

Brand, a former university president at Indiana and Oregon, played down the role of money in this showdown between two of the nation's top conferences.

While acknowledging revenue certainly was a factor in a school's conference affiliation, Brand said it was far from the only one. He did not elaborate.

Whatever the schools decide, Brand said the NCAA would not intervene even if the decisions of Miami, Syracuse and Boston College prompt more changes.

"If this happens, and I have no inside information, there are likely to be other changes as well, and Conference USA may be involved," Brand said.

There has been speculation the Big East may try to replace the three schools by pursuing Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis and South Florida from Conference USA.

Another possibility is courting ACC power Florida State. Yet another is persuading Notre Dame, a Big East member in sports other than football, to drop its longtime independent status in football.

Brand, however, said he still believed movement could be kept to a minimum.

Tranghese has questioned Miami's integrity and has suggested the Big East was the only conference willing to give the Hurricanes a home when they were looking to join a conference in 1991. He also has said the jump of the three schools could dramatically alter college sports.

Brand wasn't nearly as worried.

"Conference alignments take place on a regular basis," he said. "This is a big one, and I understand why Mike Tranghese has expressed concerns. But the NCAA has no role to play."

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