Following the ACC's announcement Wednesday morning that it would add Louisville as a 14th member, the University of Connecticut again finds itself on the outside looking in. Seven schools, including Boston College, have departed the Big East for the ACC since 2005, but UConn continues to get passed over.
According to a report in the Hartford Courant , the ACC's decision to choose Louisville over UConn was based on "perceived football superiority." Louisville is 9-2 and ranked 23rd in the coaches' poll. The Cardinals would win the Big East title with a win over Big Ten-bound Rutgers on Thursday. UConn, despite knocking off Louisville on Saturday, is 5-6. Louisville also has more up-to-date athletic facilities, and the school claimed athletic revenue of $87.8 million in 2011-12, more than any ACC school.
UConn also was passed over 14 months ago when the ACC invited Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and there were reports that then-Boston College athletic director Gene DeFillippo led the opposition to the Huskies. However, BC has a new AD, Brad Bates, and reportedly has cordial relations with UConn.
UConn president Susan Herbst did her best to soothe the feelings of fans who are concerned that the program missed out on a chance to join a power league while the Big East scrambles to stay relevant while replacing the departing programs.
"I know this may seem like a tough moment for our fans, but we need to focus on the fundamentals of academic success across the university and in our athletic program as well," Herbst said in a statement. "We are winners -- we win, we like to win and we will continue to play the best possible opponents. We will be athletically successful, regardless of our conference, because of our successes in NCAA competition. We will keep building our winning record through the lens of a great university, that focuses on academics, not on the fluid and unpredictable nature of conference realignment. Again, I realize this is a difficult day, but when we focus on research, discovery, and student success, we'll never go wrong."
Added UConn athletic director Warde Manuel: "We have and will continue to monitor the situation regarding conference realignment and work to ensure that UConn is in the best position for the continued success of our athletic programs. We are proud of the success of our coaches and student-athletes and the tradition that has been established of winning conference and national championships."