Notebook: Pittsburgh, Syracuse to join ACC

Commissioner John Swofford joined with the chancellors and athletic directors from Syracuse and Pittsburgh on Sunday morning to discuss the two schools joining the ACC.

ACC Expansion Conference Call

ACC Commissioner John Swofford

Called it a ‘monumental day' in the history of the league

Swofford considers both Pittsburgh and Syracuse exceptional institutes of higher learning.

Swofford talked with Big East commissioner John Marinatto before they completed the process which was early Saturday morning to inform him of the expansion.

The ACC has been quietly active for the last year and a half. The past week they had a committee meeting, and then a president's meeting on Tuesday night through Wednesday. Conversations continued through the weekend.

They had double-digit number of schools that reached out and asked to be considered for membership in the conference.

Doesn't feel that it was a reaction to Texas A&M leaving but the expansion of the Big 10, Pac 12 and SEC were all factors in determining that this was the right time to make a move.

The ACC will fully respect the bylaws of the Big East during the departures of the two schools.

Swofford is very comfortable with this 14 but not ‘philosophically opposed' to going to 16 teams.

Scheduling will be a challenge. The league has done various potential formats but no decisions have been made at this point.

The league will be allowed to re-open negotiations with ESPN. Swofford is confident that the additions will have a positive impact on those negotiations.

Swofford was asked about Texas and said he can't discuss any institutions specifically. He called equal revenue sharing ‘sacred' and does not see that changing.

Swofford would be open to adding Madison Square Garden to the tournament rotation and that it would be very appealing to ACC fans.

The ACC didn't look at it as a matter of survival but as a way to mature the conference's viability. He considered the increase in the exit fee was a show of solidarity. He confirmed the current exit fee is around $20 million.

Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg

"This is a great day for the University of Pittsburgh."

Pittsburgh was flattered by the ACC's interest and privileged to join the conference. He thanked the Big East and particularly John Marinatto for his leadership and hopes to work with him to make this a smooth transition.

Called the ACC a ‘perfect conference home'

Referenced several academic links between Pittsburgh and ACC institutions when discussing how the school is a great academic fit in the league.

"We look forward to the opportunity that now exists to renew and build rivalries."

The geography of the ACC is very important to us. Principle focus has always been on the Eastern seaboard.

He thinks that there will be discussions about the 27-month notification period for leaving the Big East and if that's in the best interest of all parties but that the ACC is comfortable waiting that long if that's the way things unfold.

Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor

"We are very excited to be joining the ACC and want to extend our thanks."

‘The fit academically and athletically is tremendously important to us.'

Pointed out the 44k alumni in New York City and the market it brings to the ACC.

Said moving to the ACC was a difficult decisions and thanked Big East commissioner John Marinatto and will look back with ‘great fondness' on their time in the Big East.

Stability of the ACC was a key factor in moving.

‘It's a great day for Syracuse and a great day for New York'.

Pittsburgh Athletic Director Steve Pederson

The ACC is a perfect home for Pitt student athletes to achieve at the highest level.

Pederson said he was excited by the academic prestige, the geographic proximity, the media markets up and down the east coast, success in basketball, historic success in football.

Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross

"We feel that we can enhance and add to the ACC. We have historically played ACC teams and have had tremendous rivalries."

"Timing is perfect for us."

Pointed to men & women's lacrosse and field hockey as sports that fit well into the ‘ACC template'

Gross said that being the only BCS team in the state will enhance the ACC platform.


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