ACC adds Louisville to replace Maryland
CLEMSON - Louisville will become the sixth Big East school to join the ACC since 2004, the ACC announced Wednesday.
The conference announced Louisville has applied for membership and been “unanimously” accepted by ACC presidents.
This is the third time ACC commissioner John Swofford has raided the Big East over the last 15 months, also adding Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame.
Swofford said adding Louisville will not alter the league’s television deal with ESPN. Swofford said he is “comfortable” with 14 teams.
Louisville will join the Altantic Division.
“The University of Louisville is an outstanding addition to the Atlantic Coast Conference,” Swofford said. “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.”
Swofford noted Louisville has one of the strongest basketball markets - in terms of viewership - in the country.
Asked if the ACC is exploring its own television network, Swofford said: “We’ll continue to look at that. Not sure we can do better in distribution.”
UNC chancellor Holden Thorp says Louisville was a decision based on sports, not academics.
“What the ACC needed the most was to add the most exciting sports program that we could,” Thorp said.
The ACC was seeking a 14th member after Maryland - an original member - surprisingly left the conference earlier this month. The ACC filled the void with the Cardinals on Wednesday.
“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’s Vice President and Director of Athletics. “Under John Swofford’s leadership, the ACC continues to prosper.” Maryland will leave the ACC for the Big Ten in 2014 and the ACC hopes to have Louisville in place by 2014.
Big East rules require a $10 million exit fee and 27 months notice to depart but other conference schools have negotiated a buyout.
Louisville football has improved under coach Charlie Strong and its basketball program has been a consistent winner under Rick Pitino.