LAHAINA, Hawaii — Been a busy stretch of days for North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham, who traveled to Virginia on Thursday night for the Tar Heels’ football game, then to Los Angeles on Friday for basketball, then back to Virginia for the field hockey team’s national championship game against Princeton and then, on Monday, to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational.
I caught up with Cunningham yesterday for a short interview about Maryland leaving the ACC:
Andrew Carter: What’s your reaction to Maryland leaving for the Big Ten?
Bubba Cunningham: Well, I was a little disappointed because as a founding member I thought they were a good league member. I thought they added value to the league. The traditions and rivalries that they had in the league I think were really good. But I understand that people make various make decisions. So it’s disappointing, but I understand it.
AC: How do you think the ACC will react?
BC: Well I think we’ll have to come together as a league and try to make that decision. I don’t think it’s been made yet. But the commissioner does a great job of getting everybody on the same page very quickly. So I would anticipate that he’d get the ADs, the chancellors, the presidents together very shortly, and develop a plan.
AC: Do you think the ACC would try to immediately fill that spot or is there a possibility of the conference staying at 13 members?
BC: Oh, I think 13 would be a possibility. Probably not likely, but a possibility.
AC: In your mind, are there any schools that jump out as immediate candidates to become that 14th full-time member?
BC: No, I don’t have any way to speculate on what that would be. And I think that’s what the discussions within the league would be.
AC: How much do you worry about Maryland’s move creating an unstable environment in the ACC?
BC: Well, I think the ACC is a great league, and I think it will always be a great league. I think that you always have to have some sense of concern, certainly when Maryland makes a move like this … but it’s a great league, with great schools. And whether we expand or stay at 13 remains to be seen. But overall, it’s still a great group of schools without Maryland.
AC: If the SEC called you up tomorrow and asked if North Carolina would be interested in joining that league, how would you respond?
BC: I’d say we’re one of the founding members of the ACC and we’re very happy with where we are.
So there you have it. Thanks to Bubba for his time.