The Orlando Sentinel reported on Sunday that Villanova was one of multiple Big East schools to apply to join the ACC. During a Sunday press conference, ACC commissioner John Swofford told reporters that 10 schools had indicated interest in joining the conference, but refused to name specific schools.
The news comes after the ACC announced it extended invites to Pittsburgh and Syracuse for admittance into the ACC -- and both quickly accepted.
Though the two schools had previously affirmed their commitment to the Big East, the allure of stability in the ACC proved to be too much.
This had led to further speculation that Big East members Connecticut and Rutgers could be the next to leave for the ACC, but the ACC hasn't officially commented on offering invites to those schools.
The loss of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC has left schools like Villanova in a state of unknowing. The small, private school in the suburbs of Philadelphia sees itself, and the rest of the basketball-only Catholic schools in the Big East, in potential danger should the current Big East cease to exist.
Villanova has thought about moving its football program to the FBS level, but had rejected the Big East's most recent overtures to upgrade its program. The refusal to upgrade football could leave Villanova and others sitting on the sidelines when the conference realignment carousel finally ends.
The ACC hasn't publicly commented on Villanova's application -- nor should you expect it to -- but early speculation indicates that 'Nova's application could be a longshot. While the school brings a top notch basketball program, stellar academics, and part of the Philadelphia television market, college football continues to be the car that drives realignment talks.
It's possible that the ACC could embrace its college basketball roots and add basketball-only schools like Villanova and Georgetown, but look at how well that worked out for the Big East.
The Big East expanded to 16 teams after the ACC poached Miami and Florida State in 2003, and Boston College in 2004, but the move ultimately looks like it may have backfired.
The strength of a premiere college basketball conference just doesn't stack up with the interest and money involved in high caliber college football.