Two days after a Globe story quoted Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo saying that “ESPN told us what to do’’ in relation to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s expansion plans, DeFilippo issued an apology to ACC presidents and athletic directors.
The comments were made in response to a question regarding the ACC’s latest expansion in a story Sunday, in which Big East schools Syracuse and Pittsburgh were invited to join, while the University of Connecticut, which BC opposed joining several years ago, was not.
DeFilippo also said his remarks about UConn, which sued BC when it left the Big East after the 2005 season, were inappropriate. His statement read:
“I would like to apologize for any negative effects caused by my recent interview with a Boston Globe reporter.
“I spoke inappropriately and erroneously regarding ESPN’s role in conference expansion.
“Further, while I harbor some ill feelings toward the University of Connecticut regarding the lawsuit, depositions and derogatory comments from UConn officials when we announced our decision to join the ACC, it was inappropriate to express personal feelings that might have been construed as the position of Boston College or the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I regret any misunderstandings or negative fallout my actions may have caused.’’
BC said it would not comment on the matter.
While the ACC tried to quiet things down, conference realignment chatter was ongoing yesterday in the Big 12, Big East, Southeastern Conference, and Conference USA.
The Big 12 is waiting for Missouri to make a decision on whether it wants to remain as the 10th team in the league or leave and explore the possibility of joining the SEC as the 14th team.
The Big East had a conference call among its football members and came up with a tentative 12-team, two-division plan, which would include the addition of Central Florida, Temple, Boise State, Air Force, Navy, and either SMU or Houston. Villanova’s status as a potential member in football also was discussed.
Of that group, Navy and Boise State may be the toughest to convince to join a league whose life span as a BCS conference may be limited.
The key to all of these maneuvers may be Missouri. If Missouri leaves the Big 12, the conference is ready to expand from nine to 12 teams and is considering BYU, Louisville, and West Virginia.
If that happens, the seven non-football members of the Big East are likely to break away to form their own conference.
If Missouri remains, the Big 12 will simply replace Texas A&M (which will join the SEC next season) with TCU, which had been scheduled to join the Big East next year but did a reverse and joined the Big 12.
No official invitations have been extended to anyone yet, but Central Florida and Temple still could be invited in the next few days.