It's the biggest day in University of Louisville athletics. After being invited to join the Atlantic Coast Conference on November 28, 2012, the wait is over. The Cardinals are now members of the ACC.
With three NCAA Championships in men's basketball, multiple BCS bowl victories, three recent trips to the College World Series, Final Four appearances by women's basketball and countless other successes in all sports, there has been many great moments for U of L athletics over the years. However, while complementing the school's prior conference homes, especially the Big East, University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich admitted that the move to the ACC is the grandest of them all.
"On a whole, probably it is," said Jurich following Tuesday's press conference. "I can't think of anything bigger. There's been a lot of great moments and we look forward to a lot more greater moments to come. From looking at what it's going to do for the institution itself. How the university is going to be able to grow academically, as Dr. Ramsey loves to use the words, 'upward trajectory,' I think we're going to see that now really take off. I think there's a lot of challenges in front for the institution itself. From an athletic standpoint, I think the sky is the limit for us. We just want to continue, like I said, we want to be very humble and hungry. That's been our motto and we're going to stay with it."
The Cardinals move is also a big day for the ACC. Louisville brings one of the most successful athletic departments in the country. Just last year, 20 of the Cardinals' 23 teams sent representatives to NCAA Championships. In it's only season in the AAC, U of L won 14 conference titles, which is tied with Harvard for the most in the nation by a single institution.
The transition since the initial invitation has been a smooth and welcoming one.
"It's been great and it all starts at the top with John Swofford," said Jurich. "He's an incredible gentleman with class and integrity. The way that he has included us, I've never seen anything like that before. We've really been a member since November 28, 2012 and he's made us feel that way."
Louisville, which was the only Division I school in the nation during 2013-14 with at least 10 football victories, 30 wins in men's and women's basketball, and 50 wins in baseball, will now have a greater opportunity to follow the Cardinals on the road and welcome fellow conference fans into their home facilities.
"I think the fans from the visiting schools are going to see what we see all the time and they're going to love it just like the way we do," Jurich said. "I think that for our fans that are going to travel to these new destinations are going to be really excited. All of our trips are drivable with the exception of Miami and I've always said, Louisville fans find a way to get to Miami."
Louisville's move to the ACC is the fourth conference that the Cardinals have called home since Tom Jurich arrived as athletic director in 1997, following Conference USA, Big East and the AAC.
"This should be it," said Jurich.