Joe Paterno backed Pitt's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference at his weekly news conference.
By Ron Musselman Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno praised the Atlantic Coast Conference for adding Pitt and Syracuse as its 13th and 14th members.
"I think it's a good move for the Atlantic Coast Conference, a good move for the two schools," Paterno said Tuesday at his weekly news conference.
"And I would imagine Syracuse and Pitt moving into the ACC would not only be a big asset to them football-wise, you can't hurt their basketball, because both those [schools] have good basketball programs."
Thirty years ago, Paterno, then doubling as Penn State's athletic director, proposed an all-sports conference involving Eastern schools, which he hoped would include programs such as Pitt, Syracuse, Maryland, Boston College, Temple and Rutgers.
But several Big East-member schools didn't want to give up their basketball conference, and Paterno's proposal eventually fizzled after a number of disagreements and spats.
Penn State eventually joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993.
"Obviously, at Penn State I've been trying since day one to try to get a couple of those schools, one of those schools or some other school in the East, in the Big Ten," Paterno said. "Because I think there's a tremendous market for recruiting and football in the area that the schools are moving into."
Paterno also addressed Penn State's future as a result of the sudden flurry of expansion.
"Things are changing and you're not really sure what's going to happen," he said. "I don't know where we're going to end up. There might be even some speculation that Penn State maybe ought to get into something different, or we ought to try to go out and get some people from the East to come into the Big Ten.
"[Or] that we maybe ought to solicit [Big Ten commissioner] Jim Delany and some of the leaders of the Big Ten, 'Hey, why don't we go take a good look, and Syracuse and Pitt, now that they're at it, why don't we take a look at Rutgers and take a look at somebody that we can bring in from the East so that the Big Ten doesn't end in State College.
"I think that might be helpful. I don't know. I haven't given it enough thought. But I'm sure there are people sitting around this morning over a cup of coffee who have some responsibility for the future of different conferences that are talking about it. And maybe even talking to each other -- one conference to the other."
Penn State president Graham Spanier said in an email that the Big Ten is not contemplating any changes. "This applies to all of our 12 members, including Penn State."