The University of Miami tried to put to bed any rumors that the school would leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big 12 Conference Friday. Hurricanes athletic director Shawn Eichorst released a statement saying, "not engaged in any formal or informal discussions with any other conferences."
Reiterating Miami's commitment to the ACC, Eichorst wrote, "We could not be more proud than to call the ACC our home. We are confident in our progress and in our accomplishments, yet there is still much work to be done. We are committed to the ACC and to doing our part to continue the tradition of excellence across the board. In that regard, we have not engaged in any formal or informal discussions with any other conferences."
Miami has been the subject of realignment rumors, along with fellow ACC schools Florida State and Clemson. Having recently lost Nebraska (to the Big Ten) and Texas A&M (to the Southeastern Conference), the Big 12 has reportedly been angling for new members in order to retain its stature as one of the top conferences in college sports.
President Eric Barron of archrival FSU said said earlier this month his school is not negotiating with the Big 12, in part because the Seminoles "would lose the rivalry with University of Miami that does fill our stadium." Clemson board chairman David Wilkins said Thursday "We've not had any contact from any league," though he added the school would at least consider any overture it receives.
The ACC, meanwhile, is expanding (Syracuse and and Pittsburgh will soon join the conference), and the conference extended its TV deal with ABC and ESPN through the 2026-2027 school year in a $3.6 billion deal that will net member schools $17 million per year.
Miami joined the conference in 2004, after spending over a decade in the Big East conference. With Boston College and Virginia Tech also defecting from the Big East, the realignment was hoped to propel the ACC above rival conferences like the SEC in football stature. It has not worked out that way so far (no ACC school has even appeared in a BCS Championship game since the realignment), and Miami has yet to win an ACC title in football.
"The additions of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University, as well as the new exclusive television partnership with ESPN, signal the very strength and nationwide appeal of the ACC," Eichorst wrote. "Fans will be able to watch more ACC sports and more ACC games in more ways than ever before with the most powerful brand in sports behind us. This is an exciting time to be a part of the ACC and we are honored and humbled to be among its members."