If the Miami Hurricanes join a league, it will likely be either the Big East or the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Miami wants to continue talks with those conferences and has eliminated the Southeastern and Metro conferences from consideration, school officials said Wednesday.The primary reason for the decision was the university's large number of alumni, students and potential students with ties to the Northeast, according to university president Edward Foote.
"In the Big East, we have the highest concentration of our alumni from that region outside the state of Florida," Foote said at a news conference. "To be able to play quality intercollegiate athletics in an area where we have lots of students and lots of alumni is certainly an advantage.
"On the other hand, the ACC . . . has a significant impact on the Washington-Baltimore market," Foote said.
In response to Miami's announcement, SEC commissioner Roy Kramer said no invitation had been issued to the school. He said the league is happy with its present 12-school alignment.
Miami's future appears to be with the Big East. Officials from that league plan to visit Coral Gables soon, while it's uncertain whether ACC officials will pay a visit, Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich said.
The Hurricanes' struggling basketball program would receive a boost from either league.
"Both bring an awful lot to the table," Jankovich said. "(The ACC) is a lot more traditional and has been in existence longer than the other. The Big East has been there for 11 years and is getting better all the time."
Remaining an independent in all sports is "not very appealing at all" and "very, very low on the priority list," Jankovich said.
Miami has yet to receive an invitation to join a conference, and Jankovich and Foote have yet to make a recommendation to Miami's executive board of trustees, Jankovich said.
The board will make a final decision by Oct. 16, barring unforeseen developments, Foote said.
The ACC expanded to nine teams with the addition of Florida State last month, and assistant commissioner Tom Mickle didn't rule out the possibility of further expansion.
"We've very flattered Miami is considering the ACC," Mickle said. "The ACC certainly is not aggressively seeking expansion, but in this day and time we're obviously willing to keep our options open."
Jankovich said an expanded Big East could take several forms. Three of the league's nine members - Pittsburgh, Boston College and Syracuse - play major college football, all as independents. The football-playing schools might affiliate with the Southwest Conference to fill out their schedules, Jankovich said.
Remaining an independent in football and joining the Big East in other sports would also be a possibility, Jankovich said.
Big East officials investigating expansion have limited their discussions to Miami, said Chris Plonsky, assistant commissioner.
"If Miami's interest in us continues and we can work out something and they could become part of our picture, it would be a great addition to our league," she said.