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Conference Realignment: Villanova Has Applied For ACC Membership

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According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, Villanova University was among the more than 10 schools that applied for membership to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"ACC Commissioner John Swofford said during a teleconference Sunday the league received more than 10 applications from schools hoping to join the league. Orlando Sentinel sources confirmed multiple Big East members applied to join the league, including Villanova."

On Saturday, reported that the school did have talks with the ACC, with the Wildcats biggest cheerleader being one of its former employees.

"Early this morning, learned from a source close to the administraton that Villanova had also had some talks with the ACC prior to Friday's news. The source did not comment on how serious the talks had become or whether they were still ongoing.

According to the source, Boston College Athletics Director Gene DeFilippo was one of the biggest proponents of bringing Villanova into the conference. That news was perhaps most surprising, since it has been believed that DeFillipo was not on good terms with his former employer."

The source also referred to Nova as a "bystander" in this round of conference musical chairs. At this point, I see only two scenarios where Villanova is added as the 15th or 16th members of the conference.

The first is if the ACC is able to successfully lure either Texas or Notre Dame's basketball and non-revenue sports to the conference, with the promise that Villanova would keep its football program at the Division I-AA level. This would balance out the football side of the equation while improving the basketball equation and penetrating the Philadelphia market (though it is unclear what the value of Villanova hoops is in terms of Philadelphia-area TV viewership).

The second scenario would be if the ACC added two Big East, non-football playing members, adding Villanova along with a school like Georgetown. The ACC has signaled that basketball is important to them with the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, and adding schools like Villanova and Georgetown would certainly provide tremendous added value on the hoops side without bloating and decreasing the quality of the football side of the equation.

As I have mentioned a few times now, the ACC does not need to rush a decision on 15 and 16. This is a conference that has expanded just four times in the last 30+ years. Despite how quickly the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh were, these are not decisions that are made on a whim. The conference is operating from an extreme position of strength at the moment, and there is option value in keeping two seats at the table warm for programs that provide greater value than all-sports expansion candidates Rutgers and UConn or non-football schools like Villanova and Georgetown.

HT: The Nova Blog