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ACCeptance of Louisville

Louisville Cardinals to become a member of the ACC

It’s unanimous, the Atlantic Coast Conference presidents and chancellors voted to add Louisville as its newest member.  The Cardinals will take the spot vacated by Maryland after their announcement of departure to the Big Ten in 2014.

Louisville“We wanted to make sure all our opportunities were looked at,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said. “But having the opportunity to go into the ACC is I think second to none, especially for our community around here. … I can just tell you from our standpoint, we couldn’t be in a better fit.”

Jurich was relieved to find a solid place for U of L in the rapidly transitioning world of changing conference alignments.  Louisville was recently a candidate for the Big 12, however, West Virginia was eventually selected.

It has been rumored on the airwaves of local Louisville radio; Connecticut and Cincinnati were considered prior to the teleconference on Wednesday morning with the announcement the Cardinals had been voted in.

“When you look at Louisville, you see a university and an athletic program that has all the arrows pointed up — a tremendous uptick there, tremendous energy,” the ACC Commissioner John Swofford said during a teleconference. “It’s always an overall fit in every respect and I think that’s what we found.” Louisville

Four schools now have vacated the Big East for the ACC in just over a year.  Seven have been part of the exodus in the past decade, joining Pittsburgh and Syracuse last September.  Notre Dame committed to eventually joining the ACC just two months ago with football being the exception.

However, the independent Fighting Irish has committed to playing five ACC teams each season in football. The national attention drawn by Notre Dame and it’s national television contract with NBC, alone brings much exposure to the conference and its members.

LouisvilleThe recent success of Charlie Strong’s program will make for an even more competitive football conference schedule.  Louisville and Duke have recently revitalized their programs to add to an already rich tradition.

Basketball is a huge part of the ACC equation.  Add the Cardinal’s Rick Pitino into the mix of other top notch coaches like North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.  Now with Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim also to be added; and you’ve got a round-ball super-conference.

With the Cards currently ranked No. 5, Pitino with a couple of national championships, a string of Final Four appearances, the basketball tradition is a perfect match.Louisville

The University of Connecticut was the odd man out in the selection process.  UConn President Susan Herbst acknowledged interest in an invitation to join the ACC .

Fans and politicians alike were elated by the news.  According to Louisville’s mayor, Greg Fischer, this is “a fantastic development for the university, the city and the state.”  U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky accredited Jurich leadership as a primary reason for the interest from the ACC.

As of now, there is no set date for Louisville to join. The transition will need to be worked out between the Big East and the university, according to Swofford. The Big East now has in place a notification period of 27 months for members who wish to exit and a $10 million fee.  The fee was recently increased from $5 million to $10 million after Pittsburgh and Syracuse each negotiated $7.5 million to exit early.

Another flurry of activity among the realignment of conferences was triggered by Maryland’s announcement, along with Rutgers, and most recently, Tulane to join the Big Ten.  East Carolina will begin join on a “football only” basis, also in 2014.


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