|BOT Chairman says ACC is looking ahead|
|by David Hood - Senior Writer - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:46 AM||
Board of Trustees Chairman David Wilkins wound up being just as surprised as everyone else by Maryland’s decision to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten, but he also says the ACC will do everything in its power to keep the league strong.
TigerNet spoke with Wilkins earlier this week, and he said he also has to wonder if the move was the right one for the Maryland program.
“I was like everyone and I was surprised when I heard about it,” Wilkins said. “I wondered if it made sense, but it was their decision and they did it. I have to question whether in the long run it is a good decision, but it wasn’t my decision. We shall see. I do think it was a surprise to most folks.”
Wilkins said he doesn’t know which way the ACC will turn, but he believes that Clemson president James Barker will lead Clemson in the right direction.
“I have every confidence that President Barker is doing exactly what needs to be done,” Wilkins said. “He is a strong advocate for the ACC and the league. I also know he was a strong advocate for Notre Dame and helping get Notre Dame in the conference, and he will do everything he can to keep it as strong as it can possibly be. I think the conference will add another member, and we will just have to see who that is. I am sure they are having those discussions.”
Wilkins declined to name the schools that would be his top targets, but said the list would be a short one.
“There has been a lot of discussion and speculation, and I don’t want to get ahead of the ACC,” he said. “There have been a lot of names mentioned, but that is not a long list of names. I am sure they would consider all of the names that are being bandied about. But the ACC hasn’t made a decision that I know of, and really it’s too early to speculate.”
The school that is chosen will have to mirror the goals and standards of the conference, however, and Wilkins said there are a few other criteria he would look for.
“Obviously, that school has to be compatible with the ACC, and that school has to have the same spirit of academics that the ACC has and they are proud of,” Wilkins said. “It makes sense to try and get a school that has a good tradition or an up-and-coming tradition in football. But the presidents make those decisions – the ACC is a fraternity of colleges and presidents, and they will make the decision of who they will send the invite to.”
Wilkins said he is unsure of what the timeframe for making a decision.
“It will be done in a timely manner,” he said. “You need to make the right choice, no matter what the decision is. Do we make a choice now or do we wait awhile? I know that is being discusses by the various college presidents, and I guess we will find out pretty soon what the decision is. It makes sense to have a balanced league, and who that member is depends on a lot of circumstances – it depends on who is available and who wants to come.”
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