Louisville Joins ACC, How It Affects Pitt

Pitt, Syracuse and now Louisville will move from the Big East to the ACC. You can add a fourth time in Notre Dame, who will be an associate member for football and full member for other sports.

The college football landscape continues to change, and continues to shape the future of Pittsburgh's athletic programs.

Wednesday, the conference presidents of the ACC unanimously accepted Louisville as a full member. This brings the conference total back up to 14 schools.

"Louisville was founded, balancing academics with an aggressive approach to excell in every respect," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a conference call Wednesday. "Louisville is committed to doing everything at the highest level."

As to when Louisville would join has yet to be determined, but it will most likely be for the start of the 2014-15 academic calendar. Maryland will remain a member of the ACC for the 2013-14 school year, before heading to the Big Ten.

Louisville's admittance to the ACC comes on the eve of its matchup with Rutgers, in a game that will determine the Big East's BCS bowl representative. Rutgers, too, is heading to the Big Ten.

"We did not know anything was happening with Rutgers," Tom Jurich, Louisville's Vice President and Director of Athletics said. "We were well-prepared to take care of ourselves. Sometimes we can't control those things. We were very fortunate, we wanted to seize that moment."

Swofford mentioned on two occasions, the enthusiasm of the new additions--including Pitt--as well as how quickly the ACC's Council of Presidents came together over the last ten days to make this happen.

"We have had deliberations over the last ten days or so, and going back to the last fifteen months with Syracuse and Pitt and Notre Dame coming into the league," Swofford said. "It's a tremendous addition with Louisville. We were very comfortable with 14."

Louisville will take Maryland's vacated spot in the Atlantic Division, and fill all of Maryland's schedule obligations, including basketball. Pitt was set to take on Maryland and Syracuse as its two crossover opponents for basketball. They will now have Louisville and Syracuse, two opponents they've become very familiar with in Big East competition.

"We have not had any discussions, but Louisville will jump in to the Atlantic Division and take Maryland's place," Swofford added. "They'll take Maryland's place in basketball, and for other sports scheduling as well."

All 23 of Louisville's athletic programs will become ACC members.

There had been some question on how much academics would play a role in the decision to bring the ACC back to 14 full members. Swofford, and the Council of Presidents agreed that the strength of Louisville's recent successes in football and basketball, along with what Swofford called a continued devotion to academics made them the right fit.

"I never felt that way," Swofford answered when asked if Louisville's academics were a concern. "Adding Louisville, athletically and academically, we couldn't feel any better about the future of this league.

"The collection of schools from an academic standpoint, is the strongest collection of schools academically short of the Ivy League."

The chairman of the ACC Council of Presidents is Holden Thorp, North Carolina Chancellor. Louisville President James Ramsey is a former professor at North Carolina. He expanded upon how Louisville's academic profile will fit in to the ACC.

"One of models we've used is to emulate the commitment to academic excellence," Ramsey said. "I couldn't do the job I would be doing if it weren't for my experience at Chapel Hill. We're really following the Chapel Hill model; building research programs and clinical programs, providing the very best care to people across the state.

"There's a lot more work to do, but my experience at Chapel Hill led us to what we are doing at Louisville."

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