Athletic administrators have a special way of producing neutral wordstuffs that almost address a question but squarely situate themselves into the bleak void of responses that exist in the atmosphere without particular note. Whether the function is to ensure secrecy -- in case those damn commies in Russia are trying to steal our athletics secrets! -- or to prove that statements can actually become the color beige, administrators are mere conduits to the abyss, proving that something is down there but never indicating what that something is.
This is the difficulty in trying to decipher what, exactly, Terry Foy of Inside Lacrosse was able to pull from Kris Pierce, an associate commissioner at the ACC. Foy asks some solid, pointed questions around the league's plans for men's lacrosse in the future and what the league's activities were in the immediate past (especially with respect to whether Johns Hopkins was in discussions with the conference when the Blue Jays were shopping for a league home), but the responses Foy received were the equivalent of a Toyota Camry. The entire piece -- in question and answer format -- is right here, but I'm only going to highlight some of the actually notable portions.
Would the ACC consider an ACC-Big Ten Challenge like exists in men's basketball?
The league would consider it, but with the difficult schedules that the ACC teams already play, the timing and opponents would have to be beneficial to our teams to explore.
Two things: (1) Given the response, I'm not sure that this was ever on the ACC's agenda at any point preceding Foy's question (I could be wrong, but the start of the response doesn't instill much confidence that Team Swofford was talking to Team Delaney about a lacrosse-focused inter-conference event); and (2) I doubt that the ACC schools would ever agree to this throwdown on a league-wide basis. For basketball this event makes sense: It draws a television audience and features two of the strongest hoops leagues in the country. For lacrosse? Well, there'd be more heat around me posting pictures of barbecue on a Pinterest account. The Big Ten may want something like this to ensure that the entirety of its membership gets a bonkers game against a hyper-elite opponent (on a consistent year-to-year basis outside of Big Ten-ACC games that happen to pop up on individual schedules), but the total passion around an event like this -- in totem -- would register fairly low. There's simply too large of a gap between the two leagues -- from top to bottom -- for a challenge like this to create worthwhile heat as an event. Something more needs to be on the table for this event to work.
Has the ACC encouraged members that don't currently sponsor men's lacrosse to add the sport in order to maintain the AQ it's likely to receive in 2014?
Sport sponsorship is an institutional decision. While the ACC will lose the AQ with less than six programs, not having the automatic bid in the past has not hindered the abilities of league programs to earn a spot in the postseason.
Translation I: "Not my problem." Translation II: "Not even on the agenda because we're already smoking fools all over the place."
Did the ACC consider or approach Johns Hopkins as an affiliate member? Would the ACC consider affiliate membership in men's lacrosse?
Affiliate membership has been discussed recently by the ACC institutions, and our league has decided to continue the long-standing policy of no affiliate memberships.
Here's what can be implied from the response (because Hopkins isn't explicitly noted in the answer, nor is any kind of detail around the process that may have involved the Jays): Very little. There are two potential scenarios here (which Foy makes clear but that clarity is ignored in the response): Either (1) Hopkins asked the ACC if the league would possibly house them as an affiliated member and the ACC, after internal discussions, decided against it; or (2) The ACC had internal discussions about Hopkins as an affiliated member and decided against approaching the Jays due to the league's position on affiliated membership. The answer to the question doesn't address either scenario and merely reaffirms reality: That Hopkins will not join the ACC and that the ACC doesn't have affiliated members. Well, no doink. These are the neutral wordstuffs that athletics administrators are so good at.