CLEMSON - Maryland’s exit from the ACC on Monday surprised many in the Clemson community but Clemson board chairman David Wilkins told USA Today he does not think the departure threatens the conference’s viability.

“I don’t think this will have a domino effect. The teams that are strong in football are committed, I believe, and I think the ACC is solid,” Wilkins said. “At least to me the Maryland exit was a big surprise, seemed to be based on money, but that’s their decision, their right, and I have every reason to believe the ACC will expect them to honor their commitment.”

According to reports the search to find a 14th team for the conference is already underway, and the candidates include Connecticut and Louisville. Wilkins would prefer the 14th team have a strong football brand.

“I’d say that Clemson is very excited about our football program right now and we’d like to see a team added that adds to the football prowess of the ACC,” Wilkins said. “But that’s a decision for the presidents to make based on a lot of factors.”

Clemson president James Barker told the Post and Courier Clemson is “committed” to the ACC several times over the last year but he declined to speak with the Post and Courier on Monday regarding Maryland and conference expansion.