ACC looks to replace Big East Big Ten is possible new series opponent

June 12, 1991|By Bill Free

The ACC-Big East Challenge basketball series will end a year early because the Big East has decided to withdraw from the final year of a four-year contract, said ACC publicity director Tom Mickle yesterday.

Mickle said the Big East would have to come to "some kind of financial settlement" with the ACC and ESPN in order to get out of the eight-game series in the 1992-93 season.

Mickle, ESPN and the Big Ten said there is a possibility that the ACC-Big East Challenge will be replaced in 1992-93 by an ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

"What happened is, Mike Tranghese [Big East commissioner] got together with his people during their spring meetings recently and they decided they wanted out," said Mickle.

"We're disappointed that we're not going into the fourth year. The majority of our league's athletic directors and coaches liked it. It put some zip into the early season, and it made money. Since the Big East doesn't want to play through the end of the contract, they will have to negotiate some kind of financial settlement with us and ESPN."

The four-year contract between ESPN and the two conferences was to run through 1992-93. The series will conclude with this year's games, scheduled for Dec. 2-5.

Big East publicity director John Paquette said yesterday that his league wanted out of the final year of the series because the coaches are against it. The Big East has expanded to 10 teams and NCAA legislation has shortened the season and reduced the number of games, he said.

In the 1992-93 season, no basketball games can be played before Dec. 1 and teams can play only 26 games instead of 27.

"The majority of our coaches aren't in favor of starting off the year with games of this magnitude," Paquette said. "And since we agreed to the four-year contract, we've expanded our league to include Miami and the NCAA reduced the season at its 1990 convention. That makes it harder to fit the games in."

Associate Big Ten commissioner Kevin Weiberg said yesterday that his league has had some discussions with the ACC about closer athletic ties, and the possibility of an ACC-Big Ten basketball challenge has been mentioned to the Big Ten coaches.

"Some of the coaches have favored it, and some have not," said Weiberg.

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