Sunday, a quote from Boston College Eagles AD Gene DeFilippo that the ACC had added Syracuse and Pittsburgh because ESPN "is the one who told us what to do" raised much squalor and dismay, as it darn well should've.
It seems DeFilippo just isn't very careful when he talks -- Exhibit B -- but it's hard to say whether he let a cat out of a bag or accidentally referred to a general situation by giving it the same name as a large, powerful media entity. An entity you could totally see telling a conference like the ACC what to do.
Both the ACC and ESPN are denying the former. From a report by the New York Times' Pete Thamel:
"We've got a great partnership and a great working relationship with ESPN," an A.C.C. spokesperson said. "But they have never and will never dictate to us, especially in regards to expansion."
An ESPN spokesman also denied DeFilippo's claims, adding, "The driving force on realignment lies with the conferences and universities."
There's room for parsing. Dictating is different than advising, which still could've happened. Providing a piece of a decision isn't the same thing as being the driving force. Conspiracy theorists, this one somehow hasn't been definitively squashed yet, as nutty as the whole thing sounds.
Stay tuned for more conference realignment news.