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Blog Entry

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Posted on: September 18, 2011 8:15 am
Edited on: September 18, 2011 10:54 am
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents unanimously voted to accept Pittsburgh and Syracuse as new members Sunday, the league announced. The invitation followed the submission of letters of application from both universities.

“The ACC is a strong united conference that is only going to get better with the addition of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University,” said Duke President Richard Broadhead, chair of the ACC Council of Presidents.  “Both schools are committed to competing at the highest level of academics and athletics.  We welcome them as full partners in the ACC.”

On Saturday morning, first reported that Pitt and Syracuse had submitted letters of application to the ACC. Commissioner John Swofford said the league would respect the Big East's withdrawal by-laws, which requires 27 months notice. However, it's doubtful the Big East would want Pitt and Syracuse to remain in the league over that period because it would seek to immediately add additional members to survive.

“The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard,” Swofford said. “Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC’s reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States.”

It also could serve as a devastating blow to the Big East Conference. Syracuse was a founding member and Pittsburgh has been a member since 1982. The Big East was stunned by the news and didn't learn that either school had submitted a letter of application to the ACC until Saturday.

“This is an exciting day for the University of Pittsburgh. We have a long history of competing and collaborating with the distinguished universities that already are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and have enormous respect for both their academic strengths and their athletic accomplishments,” Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said. “In looking to our own future, we could not envision a better conference home for Pitt and are grateful to the Council of Presidents for extending an invitation to join the ACC community.”

Pittsburgh desire to leave the Big East was "common knowledge," several Big East sources told Nordenberg has served as chairman of the Big East's executive committee of presidents and "put the brakes" on the Big East accepting a $1.3 million media rights deal from ESPN in the spring.

“This is a very significant day for all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff at the University of Pittsburgh,” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. “The strength and quality of the ACC is highly regarded by everyone at Pitt. When we set high expectations for our student-athletes in their academic, athletic and personal goals, it is important to provide every opportunity and resource to enable that success. Joining the ACC and the outstanding institutions in this conference will give every Pitt student-athlete the chance to achieve their highest aspirations."

The addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse will speed up the race to 16-team superconferences. So what will happen next? Here's one viewpoint on what lies ahead for the ACC and Big East along with the other four automatic qualifying BCS leagues and Notre Dame.

"We are very excited to be joining the ACC," Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor said. "This is a tremendous opportunity for Syracuse, and with its outstanding academic quality and athletic excellence, the ACC is a perfect fit for us. The ACC is home to excellent national research universities with very strong academic quality, and is a group that Syracuse will contribute to significantly and benefit from considerably.

"As a comprehensive, all-sports conference, the ACC provides Syracuse tremendous opportunities for quality competition and growth in all sports, while also renewing some of our historic rivalries. This move will also bolster our continued efforts to look outward, engage, and extend Syracuse’s reach to key areas of the country, including the southeast, as we grow and expand our national connections to alumni, partners and the students of the future. We are pleased that Syracuse adds a New York City dimension to the ACC, a region in which we have built strong identity and affinity, and we look forward to bringing ACC games to the Big Apple.  Overall, for Syracuse, this opportunity provides long-term conference stability in what is an uncertain, evolving, and rapidly shifting national landscape."

The league did not announce when Syracuse and Pittsburgh would join the conference. The Big East requires 27 months notice to leave the conference, although it's doubtful that would be enforced, sources said, since the Big East would want to replace both schools as quickly as possible. Big East schools must pay $5 million to leave. Last week, the ACC unanimously increased its withdrawal fee to $20 million, in a move of solidarity.

"Today is a day that we will remember for years to come," Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross said. "We are truly excited that academically and athletically we will be a member of the ACC, one of the nation's premier collegiate athletic conferences. As New York's College Team, we plan to compete at the highest level across all of our sports and help to enhance this great conference."

Gross is absolutely right: today is the day that the entire college football conference landscape will remember as the day it changed forever.
Category: NCAAF

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:48 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I hate these big conferences consolidating the way they are. In my mind, if you can't play every team in your conference once during football, and twice during basketball, you are too big. I yearn for the days of the Big 8, Big 10 (before Penn State).  How can you really call yourself a conference if most teams don't play each other every year. It's ridiculous.

Since: Nov 25, 2008
Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:24 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Also can you imagine how TCU feels now? Looks like they will jump ship once again.

Since: Nov 25, 2008
Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:23 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I am shocked the Big East allowed this yet alone the NCAA. The BCS not has ruined college football, but it looks like it destroyed college basketball as well. Something must be done about this. We are now witnessing the crumble of the best basketball conference before our eyes. This is about money more then the sport and education and the sad part is these kids dont see a dime other then their scholarship.

Since: Sep 17, 2011
Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:19 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Great, now we'll dilute the recruiting market even further...

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:06 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Two of the best teams in the best baskeball conference in the nation only middle of the pack in the ACC that has only two good teams in NC and Duke?  You can't be serious.  Oh, and Pitt has 8 national championships in football.  How many does the ACC have, total? Ever?

I'm surprised that Duke and NC would want to allow two serious threats to their hoops domination of the ACC into the league, actually.  Personally, I liked the Big East thumbing its nose at the rest of the country every year. Gonna' miss those days...the biggest problem with the Big East is that it couldn't attract Notre Dame football.  If that had happened, the Big East would be unrivaled in either sport.

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: September 19, 2011 9:47 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Ummmm. Bigger IS better, people!  And as GG said, "greed is good"!  UConn and Rutgers are on the way to Tobacco Road also. (Sooner or later)  Makes those mid-week volleyball matches tough on Syracuse or Pitt vs USF, however, travel-wise.  Change you can believe in.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: September 19, 2011 9:36 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I'm a Syracuse alumnus and was utterly disgusted by this announcement.  What price loyalty?  Apparently, whatever slice of the ACC's TV contract revenue the Orange will get.  (Need anyone even comment upon the reprehensible behavior of Pitt in vetoing a TV deal for the Big East, then jumping ship?)  And they are giving up an historic rivalry with Georgetown (of which I am also an alumnus) and playing the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden.  As a NYC resident, saying Syracuse will "bring a NYC presence to teh ACC" is rather laughable, too.  Before writing this, I sent SU Chancellor Cantor an e-mail telling her that although I have given thousands of dollars over the years to alma mater, she will never see another penny from me.  I would encourage other SU alumni to do the same.  Since SU sports now appears to be all about the money, I figure the only thing that matters is voting with one's wallet...

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: September 19, 2011 9:28 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Remember a couple of months ago when the Big East Commish was bragging about how much money they were going to make on their next TV deal?  He was foolish to think that Big East football was going to command the same kind of money that the SEC, Big-10, and Pac-12 were commanding.  Now, he's finally seeing what the rest of us knew all along.....the Big East (as a football conference) is going to die.  It will continue as a basketball only conference, but their next big TV deal is never going to happen.

Since: Sep 12, 2009
Posted on: September 19, 2011 8:24 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Does the ACC really NEED 2 more teams? When will it stop? They're up to 14 schools now. They're twice as big as they were when I first started cheering first for Georgia Tech, then for the rest of the ACC. I'm not positive, but doesn't this make them officially the biggest conference in NCAA Division 1? Add Rutgers and West Virginia and you have two divisions as big as the conference was when Florida State was first added. Where does the expansion stop?

RELATED: does the rapid expansion of the conference make the conference better? or just BIGGER? Will the schools in the conference be so bogged down by the conference schedule that they have trouble scheduling out-of-conference games? What of the Georgia vs Clemson game? or Florida vs Florida St?

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: September 19, 2011 7:44 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

"Just a few more comments. Those people talking about Norenburg the Pitt pres as being the chairman of the board, he was like 6 years ago. and that was for like one year. so you ppl are totally out of line blaming him about holding back or stalling the 1.2 billion dollar tv rights."

Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg is Chairman of the Big East's Executive Committee and has been a voice urging Big East schools to stick together in recent months.  He was reported to be a prominent influence in the conference refusing a lucrative new television contract this summer.  This raises serious questions about whether Nordenberg knew his scool might be contemplatiing this action when he was taking part in all those activities.

The TV contract offer was for over $1 Billion (WITH A B!).  No one can force Pitt and 'Cuse to stay in the BE if they don't want to.  However, Nordenberg had fiduciary duties to the conference as it's Chairman and, even if the ACC wants to help pay the tab, looks like they'll be carrying a snake across the pond.  I don't think this deal will happen quietly and is far from over.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or