Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner Gene Corrigan said yesterday that he was going to meet informally with University of Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich, but that a deal to bring the Hurricanes into the league was not imminent.
En route to a three-day conference of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I athletic directors in Tucson, Ariz., Corrigan said he doubted the ACC would decide by the Oct. 16 deadline set last week by Jankovich.
"I don't think anything can get done in two weeks," Corrigan said from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. "If that two-week time frame becomes part of it, I don't think we're going to be doing anything."
Corrigan, who returned to the United States Friday after a family trip to Italy, said he received a call from Jankovich over the weekend to set up the meeting. It was scheduled to take place either last night or today.
"It's really no big deal," said Corrigan.
Jankovich couldn't be reached for comment.
The ACC announced two weeks ago its plans to expand to nine teams, with the addition of Florida State. The Seminoles officially will join the ACC July 1 and immediately will begin playing a regular schedule in all sports but football. The Florida State football team will be put on the ACC schedule beginning in 1993 or 1994.
If talks with Miami advance to a more formal stage, the ACC again must vote on two issues: whether to expand to 10 teams and whether that addition would be the Hurricanes. League officials said the ACC also had been considering South Carolina, but the Gamecocks announced last week that they were joining the Southeastern Conference.
"When the SEC took South Carolina, that was a sign that they didn't have a realistic shot at Miami," one ACC athletic director said yesterday.
It's not clear whether the ACC will get the necessary six votes to expand further, but it likely will be a close call again if things get that far. In Florida State's case, the league was unanimous in its support for the Seminoles, but only after Duke and Maryland had voted against expansion.
Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger, who lobbied strongly against expansion the first time around, said he wasn't sure how a vote would go this time.
"It's serious, and it's possible," said Geiger, who officially assumed his job in College Park yesterday. "But I don't know if there are enough votes.
"Some of the votes in favor of expansion [the first time] were in favor of 10, and nine would be a steppingstone. I don't know how Maryland would vote [this time]. We'll have to caucus. But now that the ball is rolling, you take a different look."
For its part, Miami is looking in two directions. One would be to join the ACC for all sports, which would strengthen the HurriSee ACC, 8B, Col. 1ACC, from 1Bcanes' basketball program and, once the football rotation began, turn the ACC into a football powerhouse.
The other possibility would be for Miami to join the Big East, giving the made-for-television basketball league a strong market and recruiting base in the Southeast. The Hurricanes likely would remain independent in football for a while, or until the Big East had enough Division I-A teams (six, three more than it has now) to start a football league.
"It's so close, it could go a number of ways," said Miami associate athletic director Larry Wohl.
Jankovich and school officials reportedly had preliminary discussions with Big East representatives last week. If the Hurricanes were to join the ACC, there also is the possibility of the league's becoming the permanent host school for the Orange Bowl. The ACC is in the second year of a four-year deal with the Florida Citrus Bowl.
"If you put Miami in the ACC, you could have an East Coast version of what the Pac-10 has with the Rose Bowl," said Geiger.
Geiger, who had been athletic director at Pac-10 member Stanford for the past 11 1/2 years, said the addition of a 10th team could add to scheduling problems in football and basketball.
With nine teams, Geiger said, each school has four home ACC football games, four on the road and three out of conference. With 10, it knocks at least one team out of another's schedule each year. Geiger said it took the Pac-10 more than a decade to balance the football schedule.
On top of that, the addition of two more ACC basketball games, bringing the total to 18, would mean that each school would be giving up the potential for two non-league matchups at a time when there is discussion about shortening the overall schedule.
"At a time when there's supposed to be reform and cost-cutting, the addition of more schools will mean increased expenses and increased pressure," said Geiger.
The timetable is not in the ACC's favor. Jankovich said he wanted an answer from either the ACC or the Big East by Oct. 16, the day Miami's Board of Regents is scheduled to meet. It took the ACC nearly six weeks to decide whether to invite Florida State.
"And that was done quickly," said Wake Forest athletic director Gene Hooks.
Hooks called recent reports of the Hurricanes' joining the ACC or the Big East "pure speculation right now." Corrigan will meet with a few of the league's athletic directors in Arizona to judge their interest in pursuing Miami.