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AD apologizes for saying ESPN influenced expansion

October 11, 2011

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BOSTON—Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo has apologized to the presidents and ADs of the Atlantic Coast Conference for saying in a newspaper interview that ESPN told the league to add Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

Boston College released DeFilippo's short letter on Tuesday. In it, he apologizes for "any negative effects caused by my recent interview with a Boston Globe reporter."

He adds that he "spoke inappropriately and erroneously regarding ESPN's role in conference expansion."

Last month, Syracuse and Pitt announced they will leave the Big East to join the ACC, pushing membership in that conference to 14 and leaving the Big East scrambling to replace two of its oldest members.

In the Boston Globe article, DeFilippo said: "We always keep our television partners close to us. You don't get extra money for basketball. It's 85 percent football money. TV -- ESPN -- is the one who told us what to do. This was football; it had nothing to do with basketball."

DeFilippo also said in the story that Boston College worked to keep UConn from being invited to the ACC.

"We didn't want them in," he told the Globe. "It was a matter of turf. We wanted to be the New England team."

When Boston College left the Big East for the ACC after the 2005 season, UConn was among the remaining conference members that sued BC.

In the letter dated Oct. 11, DeFilippo acknowledged that "while I harbor some ill feelings toward the University of Connecticut regarding the lawsuit, depositions and derogatory comments from UConn officials when we announced our decision to join the ACC, it was inappropriate to express personal feelings that might have been construed as the position of Boston College or the Atlantic Coast Conference."

He added: "I regret any misunderstandings or negative fallout my actions may have caused."