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Original Issue

Changing Canes

Jumped From the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the
University of Miami. The decision came after nearly two months of
negotiations among the school and representatives of the ACC and
the Big East, which will need to restructure without its marquee
member. Miami will be joined by Virginia Tech in the move, which
is expected to take effect in the fall of 2004.

Miami had been the linchpin of the ACC's plan to expand from
nine to 12 schools, which would make it easier to have a
lucrative annual conference football championship like the Big
12 and the SEC. On May 16 the ACC announced its intent to court
Miami, Boston College and Syracuse as new members. After those
selections met opposition from some ACC
representatives--especially Virginia, which was lobbying for
rival Virginia Tech to be included in the mix--the conference
switched tactics and said it would invite only Miami and
Virginia Tech. The about-face stalled Miami's decision, since
president Donna Shalala had hoped to preserve ties with BC and
Syracuse, schools known for holding athletes to relatively high
academic standards.

In the end the bottom line prevailed. Though a football
championship game isn't out of the question with only 11
members, Miami should still reap financial benefits: The
Hurricanes' transportation costs will be reduced in the
Southern-based conference. "There were some twists and turns in
the journey," says Miami athletic director Paul Dee. "At the end
we determined a move to the ACC would be sound financially and
also be good for our teams in terms of competition." --Kelley King

COLOR PHOTO: PAUL SAKUMA/AP (SHALALA AND MASCOT) CASH DECISION Shalala (right) expects the move to the ACC to bringMiami millions.