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Miami Decides Against Joining the SEC : College football: School says it will still consider membership in Big East or ACC.


CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The University of Miami will continue to study possible affiliation with the Big East and Atlantic Coast conferences, and has eliminated the Southeastern Conference and Metro Conference from consideration, school president Edward Foote said today.

The university has yet to receive an invitation to join a conference, and school officials have yet to make a recommendation to Miami's board of trustees, athletic director Sam Jankovich said at a news conference.

The university will make a final decision by Oct. 16, barring unforeseen developments, Foote said.

He said the SEC and Metro were eliminated primarily because of the makeup of the university's student body.

"With the Big East, we have our highest concentration of students in that region, outside of Florida," Foote said. "On the other hand, the ACC has a significant impact on the Washington-Baltimore market, where we also have a lot of students."

Jankovich said Big East officials will visit Miami's campus soon. He said it's uncertain whether ACC officials will visit.

Officials at West Virginia are beginning to push for SEC membership, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported today.

West Virginia Athletic Director Ed Pastilong has sent each SEC school information and is in the process of scheduling visits with league members.

"He's sent all 10 schools a notebook, data, information about West Virginia," a source said. "He wants us to know what they're all about."

Tulane and Virginia Tech also have been mentioned as possible candidates.

On Tuesday night, the Big East voted to expand and will ask Miami to join, conference and university sources said.

There had been opposition to Miami by some SEC presidents because of travel costs and the image that has followed the program since the football team arrived at the 1987 Fiesta Bowl wearing battle fatigues.

Arkansas joined the SEC in August, and Florida State rejected the league two weeks ago to join the ACC. Miami and South Carolina, which joined the league on Tuesday, then became the SEC's prime candidates.

"Prior to Florida State going to the ACC, there was not enough support for Miami to vote them into the SEC," a league source said.

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