Thursday, June 19, 2003

Antitrust News: Big East-ACC, continued

The ACC pulled a neat trick in their continuing expansion war by inviting Virginia Tech to join Miami, Syracuse, and Boston College in bolting the Big East. In reality, the ACC was put into this position by Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who essentially forced the University of Virginia to vote against ACC expansion unless Virginia Tech was taken care of. This example demonstrates the folly of a state-run university "system": What do you do when two state-run schools have a conflict? Arguably, Virginia was being politically forced into voting against its interests for the sake of a smaller sister school. At the same time, Warner was in a tough position because he's legally responsible for the fate of all the government-run universities, and Virginia Tech would clearly suffer if they were left in a rump Big East. Thus, I'm not criticizing any particular actor here, merely stating the importance of removing universities from the political world altogether.

The other question is how the Virginia Tech invitation will affect the political lawsuit brought by Connecticut's rabid-dog attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, and the rump Big East schools against the ACC. Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth of Virginia are co-plaintiffs in that action. Does this mean that Virginia will now become a defendant? That's got to be a civil procedure nightmare. It's unlikely Blumenthal would drop the lawsuit, given that the University of Connecticut's alleged injuries would only be compounded if the Big East were further gutted by losing Tech.

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