As soon as the Maryland Terrapins announced plans to leave the ACC to join the Big Ten Conference, UCONN emerged as the favorite to fill the void. The school’s location, academic reputation and New York-New England television market seemed to make it a lock.
But yesterday the ACC announced that the Louisville Cardinals, not UCONN, had been voted in unanimously.
“With its aggressive approach to excellence in every respect, the University of Louisville will enhance our league’s culture and commitment to the cornerstones we were founded on 60 years ago,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford in a statement released by the ACC. “The University of Louisville is an outstanding addition to the Atlantic Coast Conference and I commend the Council of Presidents for continuing to position our league for the long-term future.”
Shunned and stunned, the UCONN community is left to ponder what impact the men’s basketball team’s academic mess had on this decision.
The ACC prides itself on the academic reputation of its members. According to sources who spoke to Yahoo! Sports, although UCONN offers a better academic program than Louisville, conference presidents were concerned about the academic failures under Calhoun.
The Huskies are the first Division I program banned from post-season play because of a low Academic Progress Rate.
All those years, as the Huskies succeeded on the court, Connecticut officials seemed to turn a blind eye to players struggling in the classroom. Now, even with the obvious money grab taking place during conference realignment, apparently academics matter.
How fitting that a university that failed its student athletes would be considered academically ineligible.
Merlisa blogs about Georgetown and Big East basketball. Follow her on Twitter:@merlisa.