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Louisville latest to jump ship, moving to ACC

Musical Chairs AP

And we have our first major “upset” in the latest in the latest game of conference musical chairs, aside from the whole Tulane-to-the-Big East thing of course.

When Maryland announced a week and a half ago that they would be moving from the ACC to the Big Ten in 2014, it was widely assumed that UConn was far and away the front-runner to replace the Terps, with Louisville holding the slimmest of hopes according to most observers and Cincinnati only recently — at least publicly — throwing their hat into the ACC ring.

In the end, however, it’s the Cardinals who will be afforded the opportunity to move on from a wobbly Big East conference.

Following a seven a.m. ET meeting of league presidents and chancellors, the ACC voted Wednesday morning to add Louisville as the conference’s 14th member.  As would be expected, the addition of the UofL came by a unanimous vote of the presidents and on the first ballot.

The when of Louisville’s move is still to be determined.  Technically, Big East bylaws would prohibit a move until 2015, although West Virginia (Big 12), Pittsburgh (ACC) and Syracuse (ACC) all left or will leave earlier than that time frame by paying an exit fee above the $10 million called for by the conference.

Louisville has gradually crawled its way up the conference ladder, spending nine seasons (1996-2004) in Conference USA before moving to the Big East in 2005.  Thanks to a strong financial commitment to improving its facilities in all sports in general and football specifically, however, the Cardinals are finally one of the “in schools” in a Big Five conference, albeit the least stable of that group.

With Louisville likely joining in 2014 at the latest, and Pittsburgh and Syracuse beginning play in 2013, nearly half of the ACC football-wise will consist of former Big East members: the three aforementioned, plus Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech.  As for in which division Louisville might play, that has yet to be determined.  Maryland was a member of the Atlantic, although it may make more sense for the UofL to be dropped into the Coastal even as they’re nowhere near a coast.

By 2015, and for football purposes, the Big East will consist of current members Cincinnati, UConn, Temple and South Florida; Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and UCF (all in 2013); East Carolina and Tulane (2014); and Navy (2015).  The Big East has seen seven members announce their intentions to depart the past year.

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23 Responses to “Louisville latest to jump ship, moving to ACC”
  1. ducej11 says: Nov 28, 2012 9:29 AM

    What gets lost here is now Louisville will be joining Syracuse, Pitt, North Carolina, NC State, and Duke in basketball. Wow.

  2. charles130 says: Nov 28, 2012 9:33 AM

    From ESPN:

    “The addition of the Cardinals and loss of the Terrapins should provide the ACC an immediate upgrade in football and several areas.

    The Cardinals’ basketball program will fit in with the ACC’s elite basketball programs. Since the 2004-05 school year, Louisville has reached two Final Fours and two Elite Eights.”

  3. bdulaney105 says: Nov 28, 2012 9:34 AM

    UCF joins in 2013 continuing the CUSA reboot.

  4. bdulaney105 says: Nov 28, 2012 9:35 AM

    and all the Papa John’s pizza one can desire….

  5. indywvu says: Nov 28, 2012 9:40 AM

    Good job shitting the bed on this one, Big 12.

  6. brymck1 says: Nov 28, 2012 9:44 AM

    Congrats to Louisville from a Rutgers fan on also managing to escape the sinking, burning ship that is the Big East.

  7. deadeye says: Nov 28, 2012 9:46 AM

    This is a surprise, congrats to Louisville. The Cardinals have one of if not the finest run athletic departments in the country. It appears the ACC football schools have forced their choice upon the others.

    Will this push UVA out the door? Stay tuned…

  8. thegamecocker says: Nov 28, 2012 10:11 AM

    To UCONN fans:

    Does Commissioner John Swofford remind you of Neville Chainberlain?

    What I find equally humorous is that FSU, Clemson, Ga. Tech, and Va Tech declined offering an invite to West Virginia! But a year later, Louisville gets in. I guess the TV ratings are higher in Kentucky than they are in the Metropolitan area of NY where UConn is.

    Someone once told me Coach K loathes Jim Calhoun. I don’t know how much that played into this decision but UConn is temporarily out. However let’s remember this: NEVER say NEVER when it comes to conference realignment. If the ACC does expand to 16 schools, they will be invited. The same holds true for UConn and the Big Ten.

  9. timh1955 says: Nov 28, 2012 10:13 AM

    Rumor has it that the Big East is looking at some high schools to join the conference.

  10. sssjim7 says: Nov 28, 2012 10:17 AM

    I am actually surprised that the ACC didn’t invite all 3 of them (Louisville, Cincinnati and UConn) and just finish this march to 16 teams now.

    Maybe that rumour about the basketball teams voting to disband the Big East and start their own basketball league had something to do with it. Taking Louisville is one of the things that was rumored to possible start this in action.

    If a vote comes up and both UConn and Cincinnati vote with the basketball teams to dissolve the league, then I would suspect the ACC could grab both without any exit fees?

    Just rambling thoughts…

  11. fatcamper says: Nov 28, 2012 10:24 AM

    WTB: snorkel
    USF fan seeking snorkel. It seems we have taken on water. As part of the problem I know there are few of you that want to help, but I can trade Skip Holtz or “potential” for the snorkel. Please hurry with your offers.

  12. deadeye says: Nov 28, 2012 10:29 AM


    The ACC cannot go to 16 unless one of the universities it brings in is Notre Dame as a full (all sports) member. That is literally the only way they can create reopen their tv contract. If they pull that off, Swofford is the greatest magician of all time.

  13. drummerhoff says: Nov 28, 2012 10:53 AM

    Why are people congratulating UofL for jumping one sinking BCS ship to hop on another?

    Does anyone still believe the ACC is going to keep its football-centric membership?
    You have 3 super-conferences breathing-down your neck and the 2 conferecnes with 14 members have made it clear they are going to 16.

    If anything, UofL is now positioned to pay a SECOND exit fee after Slive & Delany gore Swofford’s ox.

  14. ningenito78 says: Nov 28, 2012 10:56 AM

    Louisville to the ACC makes so much sense I’m surprised it took this long. The basketball program will ensure they don’t miss a beat replacing UM and the football program might immediately compete for a league title. As a Rutgers fan too I also congratulate UL for getting off the Titanic.

  15. thegamecocker says: Nov 28, 2012 11:12 AM


    Yes I think this is the compromise position the ACC football centric schools reached with John Swofford aka Neville Chainberlain. Patino is happier in the ACC than he would have been in the Big 12. Coach K and Roy Williams to see Louisville vis-a-vis UConn and apparently the football schools are happier. So I think this is the “deal” that was reached. The irony is it isn’t going to truly help the football schools but it’s better than selecting another purely basketball factory which is what UConn is. The Catholic schools and Temple/Cincy/Memphis/S Fla still remain in the “Big East” so it is still a formidable Bball conference. I think UMass should be invited to join the Big East for all sports. UMass makes sense and it is a great school. The worst thing that could happen is for the Catholic schools to break away from the Big East and form their own conference.

  16. pastabelly says: Nov 28, 2012 11:41 AM

    If FSU and Clemson leave for the SEC, this will wind up being a dumbass move for the ACC. Hopefully, Swofford and the Carolina schools got some commitment from FSU and Clemson before making this move.

    Funny how the UConn “basketball factory” took their football into Louisville and beat them.

    UMass has a ways to go before elevating their program. But I agree that they should go to the Big East.

  17. drummerhoff says: Nov 28, 2012 11:41 AM


    I think the football schools see the writing on the wall. Take a look at this quote from Matt Hayes:

    ““We’d be absolutely foolish to not watch Maryland,” one FSU official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Sporting News. “If or when they get out of (the $50 million buyout), everything changes. It’s almost like free agency.”

    “It’s almost like free agency” … The ACC is gonna get gored by 3 super conferences.

  18. 111um says: Nov 28, 2012 11:45 AM

    Rumors are starting to pop up that UNC and Duke where angry with the decision: One risk to be aware of: UNC and Duke were believed to be among the schools unhappy with bringing in Louisville. The Big Ten is rumored to want more, and both of those excellent universities with large fan bases are now not so far from the Big Ten’s turf.

    Also Big 10 commish is a UNC alum. ACC fans might want to be careful what you wish for. As a Big 10 fan I would welcome this.

  19. thegamecocker says: Nov 28, 2012 12:07 PM


    I hope you are correct and that FSU and Clemson leave the ACC. But on the surface, bringing in Louisville appears to be the compromise position b/c Louisville is both a football and basketball school.


    They could be mad all they want but will that result in “ACTION”? I didn’t know Strongman Jim Delaney was a UNC graduate. Still, with Comrade John Swofford as the Commissioner of the ACC, I doubt even Big Jim can pull this off. BUT, what a coup it would be!!!

  20. 111um says: Nov 28, 2012 12:42 PM


    That would be a big move. Might be the only two basketball programs that are as valuable as a top football program. UNC was linked to the Big 10 as a target when Maryland left. And grabbing both UNC and Duke would maintain the rivalry and probably make the move easier. With realignment usually where there is smoke there is fire.

  21. thegamecocker says: Nov 28, 2012 12:51 PM


    The academics are solid obviously at both schools. Both schools belong to The Association of Academic Universities. Like I said in another post, Strongman Jim Delaney would LOVE and I mean LOVE to stick it to Notre Dame with such a move! But alas, I don’t have much probability this will occur. But I would like to see it happen! You see, besides South Carolina, I grew up a HUGE Rutgers’ fan living in New Brunswick. Plus my sister and both of my daughters are graduates of Rutgers. I am so happy for RU b/c they have earned it. It will be a watershed year for Rutgers if they can beat Louisville tomorrow night and earn a BCS bid. BUT, my heart and my first allegiance is to THE University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks! :)

  22. bigbuckeye76 says: Nov 28, 2012 1:34 PM

    The ACC is about to be gutted, it’s all going to come down to what Maryland pays to get out. FSU is glue holding that conference together, and we know they want out.

    As for ND, they have probably hitched their wagon to a falling star. In my opinion, they should haw joined the Big12

  23. charles130 says: Nov 28, 2012 2:36 PM

    Huge blow to the Big 12…they are running out of expansion candidates.

    Some think FSU and Clemson will leave the ACC, but the SEC doesnt seem likely and they have little to gain by going to the Big 12. Potentially a few million/year but its hardly worth the trouble.

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