Is UConn next?

John F. Silver

When the University of Connecticut was contemplating entering big-time football in the mid-1990s then athletic director Lew Perkins said it was a way to protect the basketball programs.

It was panned at the time by Connecticut residents, who did not initially want to spend the money necessary to finance the upgrade.

Ultimately, UConn did the unthinkable and abandoned the Yankee Conference and upgraded to Division I-A football.

The Huskies should build a stature outside of ┬áRentschler Field in Lew Perkins’ honor if things turn out with UConn ending up in the ACC.

The Big East, a league UConn owes its entire athletic existence to, may have had the final death blow delivered Monday with the news that Rutgers — joining Maryland — is headed to the Big Ten conference. That follows on the heels of Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving last year to the ACC and West Virginia to the Big 12.

That followed on the 2003 departure of Miami, Virginia Tech and rival Boston College shortly after to the ACC.

The Huskies may follow in all those footsteps as one of the favorites to replace Maryland in the ACC.

If that comes to pass, the Huskies will have the upgrade to thank for continuing its relevance.

UConn, right now, is the longest tenured Big East member on the Big East having entered in 2004 with Temple a founding member having been kicked out in 2004 and invited back out of desperation this fall.

Think about that for a moment? When UConn upgraded the league was going to be Va Tech, Miami, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia and Boston College.

None remain in the Big East and UConn, if reports are correct, could be following in those footsteps as soon as this week.

Make no mistake about it, the Huskies need the ACC much more than the ACC needs the Huskies. UConn is desperately holding onto its place on the college sports landscape and through its football program has allowed itself to become an attractive team in the expansion process. UConn’s nationally relevant hoops programs would be saved by a football program that has competed at the highest level of football for only eight years.

A UConn invite to the ACC would be a boon for the Huskies. It would insure those rivalry games against Syracuse, Pittsburgh remain and a rekindled BC rivalry that’s absence hasn’t done either school good.

Louisville is also a strong candidate for the ACC and the spots in expansion are soaking up. The Huskies are a natural fit, but until the final call is put in things remain in flux in Storrs.




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