ACC presidents vote to add Louisville
Posted November 28, 2012
Updated November 29, 2012
The Atlantic Coast Conference's presidents and chancellors have voted unanimously to add Louisville as the replacement for Maryland.
"With the addition of the University of Louisville, the ACC continues to be well positioned for the future competing at the highest level in all facets of the collegiate experience," said the ACC Council of Presidents in a joint statement. "The ACC continues to be a vibrant conference that remains steadfast in its commitment to balancing academics and athletics."
Sources indicated that the ACC leaders also considered Connecticut and Cincinnati over the past week before choosing to add the Cardinals from the Big East.
"The University of Louisville will be a terrific member of the Atlantic Coast Conference," said University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp, chair of the ACC Council of Presidents. "We welcome them as full partners into the ACC."
The vote came during a conference call of ACC presidents and chancellors early Wednesday morning.
"When it became apparent to us that we needed to make a move, the ACC is the perfect fit for us and we are so elated to be joining this prestigious conference," said Tom Jurich, Louisville Vice President and Director of Athletics. "This will open so many more doors for us both athletically for all of our sports programs, and academically for our university. What I really like about this move is it's terrific for our fans, with the proximity of the institutions and we never have to leave the Eastern time zone."
It's unclear exactly when Louisville will join the ACC. The Cardinals will be the seventh Big East school to leave for the ACC in the past decade. Maryland is expected to depart the ACC in 2014, the same year that Tulane will join the Big East as a full member and East Carolina will join the Big East as a football-only member. Rutgers will also be leaving the Big East in 2014.
The Big East has a 27-month notification period for any member that wants to leave, and a $5 million exit fee. The Big East has shown a willingness to negotiate, as it did with Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who paid $7.5 million each to get out early.
"With its aggressive approach to excellence in every respect, the University of Louisville will enhance our league's culture and commitment to the cornerstones we were founded on 60 years ago," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "The University of Louisville is an outstanding addition to the Atlantic Coast Conference and I commend the Council of Presidents for continuing to position our league for the long-term future. If you look at what has been done over the last 15 months, the ACC has only gotten stronger with the additions of Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse."
Adding Louisville will bring the ACC to an even 14 full members, with Pittsburgh and Syracuse beginning conference play in 2013.
Two months ago, the ACC announced the addition of Notre Dame for all the conference's sports but football, with the fiercely independent Fighting Irish committing to play five ACC football opponents each season. Most of Notre Dame's non-football sports have competed in the Big East since 1995.
Louisville's addition will add some extra juice to what's already one of the nation's premier conferences for men's basketball.
Louisville, currently ranked No. 5, brings a tradition-rich program to the ACC that has won two national championships and reached its ninth Final Four last season. In addition, Rick Pitino will give the league another marquee coaching name alongside Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina's Roy Williams and soon Jim Boeheim of Syracuse.
The school's football program is a win away from earning a BCS berth. Charlie Strong's Cardinals travel to Rutgers on Thursday night for a game in which they could clinch the Big East's BCS bid.
The ACC's decision to add Louisville is a blow for Connecticut, which had been looking for a landing spot since Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced their Big East exits. UConn President Susan Herbst had indicated that an invitation to join that ACC is something the school would welcome.
AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.