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It’s official: ACC accepts Pitt, Syracuse as new members

The next domino has officially tumbled.

Wrapping up what’s been a whirlwind past 36 hours, the ACC announced Sunday morning in a press release that the conference’s Council of Presidents (COP) has unanimously voted to accept Pittsburgh and Syracuse as new members. The invitation followed the submission of letters of application from both universities within the past two days.

The ACC, which has officially poached the Big East for the second time in a decade, now stands at 14 members, although this could be their first shot in a move to a 16-team superconference.

“The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard,” said commissioner John Swofford. “Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC’s reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States.”

“This is an exciting day for the University of Pittsburgh. We have a long history of competing and collaborating with the distinguished universities that already are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and have enormous respect for both their academic strengths and their athletic accomplishments,” said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “In looking to our own future, we could not envision a better conference home for Pitt and are grateful to the Council of Presidents for extending an invitation to join the ACC community.”

“We are very excited to be joining the ACC. This is a tremendous opportunity for Syracuse, and with its outstanding academic quality and athletic excellence, the ACC is a perfect fit for us,” said Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President of Syracuse. “The ACC is home to excellent national research universities with very strong academic quality, and is a group that Syracuse will contribute to significantly and benefit from considerably.  As a comprehensive, all-sports conference, the ACC provides Syracuse tremendous opportunities for quality competition and growth in all sports, while also renewing some of our historic rivalries. This move will also bolster our continued efforts to look outward, engage, and extend Syracuse’s reach to key areas of the country, including the southeast, as we grow and expand our national connections to alumni, partners and the students of the future. We are pleased that Syracuse adds a New York City dimension to the ACC, a region in which we have built strong identity and affinity, and we look forward to bringing ACC games to the Big Apple.  Overall, for Syracuse, this opportunity provides long-term conference stability in what is an uncertain, evolving, and rapidly shifting national landscape.”

The release gave no details as to when the schools would be moving from the Big East to the ACC.  The Big East’s bylaws state that a member institution is required to provide 27 months notice, which would push the timeline for a move to the 2014-2015 academic year.  Don’t expect it to take even remotely close to that long, however, as discussions have likely taken place that involve exchanging a shortened timeline on a departure for “financial considerations”.  Current, Big East bylaws call for a $5 million exit fee.

A media teleconference has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET, so many of these questions may be answered in short order.

“This is a very significant day for all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff at the University of Pittsburgh,” said Steve Pederson, Pittsburgh athletic director. “The strength and quality of the ACC is highly regarded by everyone at Pitt. When we set high expectations for our student-athletes in their academic, athletic and personal goals, it is important to provide every opportunity and resource to enable that success. Joining the ACC and the outstanding institutions in this conference will give every Pitt student-athlete the chance to achieve their highest aspirations.”

“Today is a day that we will remember for years to come,” SU AD Daryl Gross said. “We are truly excited that academically and athletically we will be a member of the ACC, one of the nation’s premier collegiate athletic conferences. As New York’s College Team, we plan to compete at the highest level across all of our sports and help to enhance this great conference.

We would go into what this official move means for the conference landscape, but we already did that.  Suffice to say, it’s the second — with Texas A&M-to-the-SEC being the first — of what could be myriad dominoes tumbling in the next few weeks and months that could, and likely will, change the face of college football forever.

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18 Responses to “It’s official: ACC accepts Pitt, Syracuse as new members”
  1. pabstman says: Sep 18, 2011 8:55 AM

    Wow pitt must be really happy, this is the most press coverage they’ve had since that little coaching “issue” back in Dec.

    Good Luck pitt in the ACC, hope you have better Luck filling Heinz filed in the ACC…doubt it but good Luck!!!

  2. steeltownpride says: Sep 18, 2011 9:16 AM

    Cant wait too see my first game where Virginia Tech travels to Heinz field . That will be a special game to me as a Hokies and STeelers fan . Now we need WVU and maybe Rutgers or Uconn to join the acc .

  3. gorilladunk says: Sep 18, 2011 9:20 AM

    I guess a lack of revenue sharing isn’t the ONLY reason teams switch conferences.

  4. chachooga says: Sep 18, 2011 9:40 AM

    So if the Big 12 goes down….do Texas and Texas Tech go ACC????

    UT and VT leading a North Division
    UM and FSU leading a South Division

  5. kenny328usa says: Sep 18, 2011 9:47 AM

    So are they taking their basketball teams to the ACC as well? How does that work?

  6. nickp91 says: Sep 18, 2011 9:47 AM

    new era for Syracuse

  7. polegojim says: Sep 18, 2011 10:08 AM

    And here…we…go…

    Wow – some pretty good pot shots at the Big East coming from the both comments.

  8. WingT says: Sep 18, 2011 10:28 AM

    Chances are pretty good that the ACC will lose a couple of teams to the SEC…..time will tell

  9. blakebuchanan87 says: Sep 18, 2011 10:57 AM

    WingT, I hope you’re right because I see that as the only way USF gets an invite from the ACC.

    In any case, allow me to speak for USF when I say we’ve officially hiked up our skirt. We’re talking to you ACC and SEC (if you’ve had a few drinks in you, we’ll look even better).

  10. WingT says: Sep 18, 2011 11:07 AM

    blake – USF would be a good get for either conference. It’s an up and coming school. Good luck

  11. fatcamper says: Sep 18, 2011 11:25 AM

    As a USF fan I’m also crossing my fingers everybody left standing is going to 16. Hopefully being in a decent TV market and being “up and coming” is enough of a beer goggle to get us in the sack with one of the remaining conferences. I don’t know if I can survive the walk-of-shame that going back to C-USA would be.

  12. emperorzero says: Sep 18, 2011 11:34 AM

    ACC just became an incredibly amazing basketball conference. I get adding Pitt and Syracuse for the regional coverage they will get, but from a football standpoint I don’t think either school really improves the quality of the ACC. But I do ahve a question: How does Syracuse and Pitt leaving affect the Big East’s automatic bid?

  13. dcroz says: Sep 18, 2011 12:22 PM

    You just have to love schools that claim the biggest attraction in moving from one ATHLETIC conference to another is because of ACADEMICS. Why aren’t these university presidents in politics? Oh, wait, most of them have been, which I guess explains why all their underlings are required to wear hip-waders in the presence.

  14. pastabelly says: Sep 18, 2011 12:42 PM

    ACC will not take weak academic institutions and that mean that USF and West Virginia will always take a backseat to Rutgers and Connecticut. Hopefully, that gets done and the ACC gets rid of this stupid Atlantic and Coastal divisions and goes to North and South divisions with BC, UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, VA Tech, Virginia, and Maryland in the North in both football and basketball. All of this should have happened years ago.

  15. furious67 says: Sep 18, 2011 1:24 PM

    Just what the ACC needed…. Two more subpar football teams.. They’re cornering the market.

  16. blakebuchanan87 says: Sep 18, 2011 2:11 PM

    pastabelly–They have FSU. Academic standing of USF is 2nd only behind UF in the state in undergraduate academics.

  17. florida727 says: Sep 18, 2011 5:25 PM

    This is politically incorrect, but I have to admit, I laugh a little every time I see a press release where some conference commissioner cites “academics” as a reason why they’re excited to have a school join their ranks. If that’s really true, why aren’t all these supposed “super conferences” going after Harvard or Yale to join them?

    Face it, it’s a money grab.

    It would actually be refreshing, just once, for one of these commissioners to say, “are you freaking kidding me, do you have any idea how many more TV markets our conference can now reach, and how much more money that’s going to mean to our conference members?”.

    I know, I know, it’ll never happen. But it would be refreshing to hear one of these guys actually admit to the truth behind conference expansion.

  18. mrf47 says: Sep 18, 2011 10:38 PM

    Why do these schools try to make a connection between the academics of their school and the conference? Do they imagine that they’ll one day line up the chemistry department of their institution against Duke?

    Just state what’s true: you jumped conferences for the money and the only academics that mattered were the economics.

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