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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Expansion No One's Thinking Of

As conference realignment continues to turn, the ACC may very well be looking to continue to expand their ranks. In doing so, it wouldn't be a bad idea to cast a line to a school that's been a successful independent and seems staunchly opposed to conference membership.

That's right. the ACC should offer a lacrosse-only membership to Johns Hopkins.

It's clear that conference expansion and realignment is driven by big time football, and lacrosse would be lucky to be third or fourth afterrthought. Still, reeling in the two biggest names in any given sport--they already got Syracuse--certainly can't be a bad thing. In addition to being one of the winningest and most followed programs in the sport, Hopkins has a TV contract that, while not nearly as lucrative, mirrors the one Notre Dame enjoys in football.

So why in the world would they want to join the ACC? Honestly, the biggest "why" is that the biggest "why not" has moved out of the way. As an independent, Hopkins is free to schedule who they wish, but not unlike Notre Dame football, they have a few staples on their schedule. They typically play each of the Baltimore schools, but beyond that, the regulars include College Park, UVA, and Syracuse. They can now have all of that in a conference schedule, plus throw in Duke and Carolina for good measure, and still have plenty of room to schedule UMBC, Loyola, Towson and the like. As for the ACC, with the Hopkins add, they move to six teams, the marker of a legitimate conference. While the ACC has never needed the auto-bid that comes with that, as all four schools are tournament perennials, it certainly adds to their dominance and makes their strength of schedule even more ridiculous. What's more--and I realize this is pie-in-the-sky--this may lead other ACC schools to look at adding or re-adding lacrosse.

I know it's not the biggest shake-up overall, but ACC, you want to keep making moves? Set your sights to North Charles.
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