While never in any real doubt, Louisville’s path to a new conference has officially been cleared.
In a press release sent out Wednesday afternoon, the American Athletic Conference announced that it has reached an agreement with Louisville that will allow the school’s athletic programs to move to the ACC. The move will become official, as expected, on July 1, 2014.
“I am pleased to announce this agreement and pleased that Tom Jurich and I worked together in a spirit of friendship to complete it,” said AAC commissioner Mike Aresco in a statement. “I have great respect and admiration for Tom and for the manner in which Louisville conducted itself in our negotiations. We wish Louisville the best and appreciate what they have meant to our conference.”
Louisville will pay a total of $11 million to leave the AAC: a total of $5 million that had previously been paid in two separate payments along with $1.5 million per year from 2014-17.
“I’m glad to have been able to work face-to-face with Mike Aresco to reach a fair settlement for us to depart the league a year early,” UofL athletic director Tom Jurich said. “All of us at the University of Louisville appreciate what the former Big East and American Athletic Conference have done for us and I see greatness ahead for the league under Mike’s leadership.”
It was announced in late November of last year that Louisville would be leaving the then-Big East for the ACC. That move came a week after it was announced Rutgers was moving from the Big East to the Big Ten. An agreement on exit fees between those two sides has yet to be reached, although there’s little that will stop RU from joining its new conference in July of next year.
Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reported this afternoon that, if Rutgers is permitted to leave the AAC for less than $11 million, Louisville “would receive that difference from the $11 million” they are expected to pay.