Pitt, Syracuse Apply for ACC Membership; Big East Dead

A moment of silence for the Big East. Time of death is murky, but it appears to have been sometime between yesterday evening and this morning.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has been approached by at least 10 schools about possible membership, a group that includes the Big East's Pitt and Syracuse, both of which have tendered letters of application, a high-ranking ACC official said Saturday morning.

In addition, amid a "fluid landscape" in conference alignment, the ACC presidents have unanimously approved to increase the buyout for schools to leave the conference from $10 million-$13 million to $20 million, the source said, making it a highly unlikely scenario that any ACC teams defect from the conference.

(HT: BC Interruption)

It's hard to imagine any scenario where the Big East survives this, except as a basketball-only league, and no scenario where the Big East survives as an AQ league. And that's not just me talking -- Big East fans agree.

If the move occurs, the Big East is dead. There's no other way to spin it. Pittsburgh and Syracuse have been bedrock members of the conference and it would likely mean the crumbling of the Big East and the soaking up of more valuable members by other conference hoping to also expand.

This also exponentially increases the chances that West Virginia joins the SEC, in two ways. First of all, an increased buyout probably takes Florida State, Virginia Tech and N.C. State, among others, off the table. Secondly, it makes it more likely that the Mountaineers reach out to the SEC for membership as the 14tg team -- satisfying Mike Slive and the presidents' requirement that teams approach the SEC, not the other way around.

The unanswered question is whether this is part of a move to accept Texas, which has a board meeting about alignment scheduled for Monday, to the SEC. Buckle up; it looks like conference realignment is coming in for a crash landing.

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