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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: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 9:17 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

pitt won national titles before even joining the big east so to say it put the team on the map is absolutely ridiculous. get your facts straight and as far as syracuse does jim brown and their legendary running backs ring a bell? probably not but anyway ALL BEFORE the big east.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 8:28 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

this my friends is what a republican country is all about........MONEY.  to hell with tradition, loyalty, or honor.  as a life long pitt fan i have to say that this really sucks.  pitt is basketball and basketball IS big east.

Since: Sep 18, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 8:11 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Amen devs91. The Big East put both of these schools on the map. I don't see how ACC football is going to help them. I cannot believe this is even allowed. This is an absolute joke!!!

Since: May 20, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 6:38 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

People can say what they want about academics and WVU but what pays for those new academic facilities campuses build most of the time, yes athlectics.  WVU brings alot more to a football conference than syracuse and pitt.  Check out the last 30 years and see who plays in the biggest bowl games of the 3, and whos fans will travel to the ends of the earth to watch their program, WVU. but i am not surprised at the no love were getting.  WVU should hold their ground, Big East can still make it if we add some big 12 schools like Mizz, Kansas, Baylor, TCU, ISU and retain Cincy, Louisville, Uconn, Rugters, USF add a ECU or UCF. I have been a Big East guy all my life, hope we survive.

Since: Aug 9, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 6:24 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

UConn is next.  Rutgers may first have a quiet conversation with Delaney and the Big TEN.  I suppose there is the wild chance that Texas and a partner join the ACC, keeping UConn and Rutgers in the Big EAST, but it is doubtful and I would bet the ACC Commissioner, Presidents, and Ads would rather "own" the east coast.

West Virginia doesn't fit the Academic presence of the ACC.  ACC Schools rank from 10 to 102*. Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, and UConn are ranked 56, 58, 66, and 66 respectively.  WVU isn't even ranked and is a Tier 3 institution.
Any ideas for Big TEN admittance (schools are ranked 12 to 96) is even stricter as all members are AAU members.  Note: Nebraska is working on reinstatement and allowances would be made for Notre Dame while not an AAU member is ranked 19.

West Virginia's best hope is that the SEC.  But will the SEC actually admit a "Yankee" college.  Many opinions exist, but one fact remains is that the SEC can get about anyone they want.  The 20m buyout is still manageable for institutions like Florida State, Virginia Tech, and NC State, especially if the end game is the SEC.  MAYBE if the ACC were to lose three to the SEC, WVU might get an offer for the ACC, but might still have to compete with, surprise, someone like Villanova for membership as VU is ranked #1 academically in the Big East.  (Temple is a tier 3) 
IMO IF the SEC goes to 16 WVU has a chance.  IF they only go to 14 it will be FSU or VA Tech or NC State, and WVU will have to look to become a football independent (Big EAST will most assuredly lose their AQ), or suffer with the left-behinds."

So what about Missouri to the SEC?  Maybe, if TV Market is the MOST important factor on SEC minds, but I still sbumit that the "Yankee" thing is a private issue.  I'll take this moment to also predict that IF the Pac 12 does expand, the Big TEN will offer Kansas/Missouri.  Delaney should have talked to Syracuse and Rutgers before this latest move.  

Source: *UN News Academic Ranking - Recognized as the authority 

Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 6:17 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Once again, the leaders of "Institutions of Higher Learning" show themselves to be nothing but short-sighted, gutless, disloyal cowards chasing the almighty dollar.

I have been a Big East fan my entire life and what is happening to Collegs sports is a putrid example of greed gone wild and not a thing more.  For Syracuse, of all schools, to walk away from the Big East, a league it founded with it's partners, is dispicable on every level.   This entire idea of "super-conferences is so abjectly stupid it defies description.  All these schools are going to get lost in the shuffle.  I sincerely hope both these schools go down the lane of complete irrelevance and continued mediocrity, just as Boston College has since it left the Big East.

Both these schools show themselves to be followers, not leaders.  Filthy rats deserting a ship...  nothing more. 

Since: Jun 8, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 6:15 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I am not one that is in favor of the current changes to the conferences. Prior conferences were limited to geographical areas, where the students could still have a chance at traveling to a few of the away games, as most of the away games were normally less than a 1000 miles or less.
I grew up in Seattle during the old Pac 8 days and can tell you that very few alumni, students and fans made the trek from LA to Pulman or Seattle.  That said, I miss the OLD conferences too.  College football is becoming the NFL minor league...only with a lot more money.  As long as us fans clamour for more college football games, then the landscape will continue to change as the networks force it.

For the past few years we have all been hammering the NCAA for their inconsistencies, but if you take a step back and examine who is really driving the whole of college athletics you will see it is the networks.  Unfortunately us fans are the enablers with our purchasing of cable and satelite cfb packages, ratings for college football games and purchasing products advertised during those events.  Add in the fact that the US is much more transient today than it was in the '70's and you start seeing how superconferences can emerge and be a financial success to the schools.

I live in Charlotte, NC now.  My parents are Syracuse grads.  I have no interest in watching Florida play Tennessee, but would love to catch an SU or UW game from time to time.  I can do that now, all the while keep up with my Tar Heels (where I graduated from).

So, ask yourself, "what is more important to me:  Watching the games and rooting for my team, or keeping the old alliances and be stuck watching a few games that have regional interest?"  I am not trying to pound your post, I have simply come to the realization that the networks are bigger than the NCAA, and I'm just along for the ride.  For all of is their world and we are just in it.

By the way...Anyone catch that UTEP New Mexico State game last night?  Awsome!

Since: May 22, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 5:34 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

What a joke! Pitt and Syracuse in the Atlantic Coast Conf. They are not in that region. These are College kids that are also suppose to be in school. Flying all over the country for conference games is a joke. Pitt and Syracuse belong in the Big East as does Boston College. Screw all these super conference mania! There is an absolute frenzy going on. Take a lesson from the 16 team WAC , (ten years ago). This formula will not last, and has others have also suggested, Conferences will be looking to down size in a few years.

Since: Jun 28, 2009
Posted on: September 18, 2011 4:27 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

As far as the playoffs for college football, we will never have a need for one at this level. The bowl games work well. There are about 25-30 bowl games where the participating schools are awarded monetary funds for appearing in the bowl game. Take away the bowl game and install a playoff system you would only have 8-10 teams per year getting playoff funds.
This is all about money and TV markets, and many believe that a TV deal for a playoff combined with enhanced megaconference TV contracts would greatly surpass the revenue under the current Bowl & conference system, even for schools that have little chance of making a playoff.

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: September 18, 2011 3:55 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I am not one that is in favor of the current changes to the conferences. Prior conferences were limited to geographical areas, where the students could still have a chance at traveling to a few of the away games, as most of the away games were normally less than a 1000 miles or less.

This current realignment dies not have the students, fans or graduates in mind at all. Away games would be extremely expensive as now you have to consider air travel, hotel accommodations, the cost of food and baby sitting fees for a few days if you have a young child.

As far as the playoffs for college football, we will never have a need for one at this level. The bowl games work well. There are about 25-30 bowl games where the participating schools are awarded monetary funds for appearing in the bowl game. Take away the bowl game and install a playoff system you would only have 8-10 teams per year getting playoff funds.

Playoff is a bad idea.

Once this fad is over, in a few years the super conferences will figure out there is more money and  fan loyalty with smaller conferences and bowl tie ins.

Currently the fans, alum, and students circle certain dates on the football schedule for certain teams because they know that is one important game. It is called a rival game or they kept us from the conference championship last season. Some of these games are being taken away, thus the remainder of the games are not as important.

With these alignments you are taking away a lot of reasons some fans show up for college ball games.

Geographical realignments that make sense would keep some fans happy as well as local sponsors.     
Those sponsors that would put together a road trip by bus returning the same day now would not be able to do so. There go about 50-75 tickets of fans that would normally go to an away game. Add about 5-10 of these type sponsors and you have lost a lot of revenue for an away game. These are you local VFW, American Legion, sports bars and sporting goods stores that put together these tours each year for certain games.

The same tour now to the west or east coast would now involve air travel and hotel accommodations, making the price too steep for some that have been able to go prior to the new alignments.

This seem to be the coming trend of things. There are times when you should keep a good thing the way they are.

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