Big East's Tranghese: League 'blind-sided'

Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese doesn't fault Virginia Tech president Charles Steger, left, for leaving for the ACC.

Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 30, 2003 at 11:43 p.m.
BOSTON - Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese doesn't fault Miami and Virginia Tech for defecting, instead directing his scorn at the Atlantic Coast Conference for "blind-siding" his league by grabbing its top two football schools.
"We've been through this for two months, and I think those of us that are involved have had enough of it," Tranghese said during a conference call Monday after Miami announced it would leave for the ACC.
"I think the public is disgusted with us all, to be honest with you," he said. "We're educational groups and we're held to a higher standard than most people, and I think people have looked at us not in a very good way. ... And that includes me."
After courting Miami, Syracuse and Boston College for the better part of two months, the ACC voted last week to instead invite Miami and Virginia Tech - Nos. 2 and 18 in the final AP football poll last season. Virginia Tech accepted immediately, but Miami waited to mull counteroffers from the Big East before president Donna Shalala accepted the ACC deal on Monday.
The schools will be in the ACC beginning with the 2004 football season.
Syracuse chancellor Kenneth Shaw said the Big East made a "strong, competitive offer" to keep Miami in the conference. Although he wouldn't elaborate, the schools had guaranteed Miami $9 million a year for five years even before a series of last-minute proposals.
"We put on the table issues and suggestions that acknowledged the fact that Miami was a very important part of the Big East and the marquee football school," Shaw said. "We knew from the get-go, it was Miami that they wanted. ... It also was clear to us that we were expendable, as was Boston College, and, I would submit, as was Virginia Tech."
The defections will leave the Big East with six football-playing schools- two of them, BC and Syracuse, had considered leaving before changing course and trying to talk Miami into staying. Boston College portrayed its interest as a "pursuit of excellence" that comes naturally to an educational institution.
The Rev. William Leahy, the president of Boston College, said the school had nothing to be ashamed of and he would do it again if he had the opportunity.
"I'm very comfortable with the way we conducted ourselves," he said.

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