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 14, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 3:42 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Not only that but academics played a part as well. SU is a well-respected private institution. Same can't be said for WVU. Read the following when the SEC was considering adding WVU:

West Virginia University, though, thoroughly fails to add either population or TV markets. It detracts from the SEC’s academic reputation. WVU is, therefore, simply an incredibly poor choice for our conference to add as an equal SEC partner!

West Virginia University is at best a mid-major football power in a tiny, unbelievably poor and unbelievably rural, state, best known for its aptitude at pork barrel politics. While West Virginia politicians have excelled in bringing home the political bacon, their state is not known for much anything else much positive.

WVU fails as an academic equal in the SEC. It would rank dead last among current SEC schools in the U.S. News and World Report (“USNWR”) rankings of national universities. That statistic, in and of itself, is a staggering condemnation of WVU.

Since: May 31, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 3:37 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I guess you have to live in NYC to care more about hoops than college football, but this is a shame from a hoops perspective.  Syracuse one of the original Big East schools, and those conference games against G'Town and Nova will be missed.  I will even miss their fans stupid tradition of not sitting down until their first basket during the tourney at the Garden.  College football ruining hoops - those non-football teams have a tough road. 

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 3:34 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I assume you're referring to football there, Hooterville?! They will be playing other sports as well in case you missed that.

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 3:19 pm

Glad to see them go!

Since: Oct 9, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 2:57 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

The basketball only schools have no say in this.  Football and media markets are driving this.  If you get a school with a good basketball program, that's just a bonus.  There are enough basketball schools in that conference to create a new basketball only conference and when the big east football schools have all been drafted into other conferences they can keep the big east name.

Fla st isn't going anywhere now that the ACC has expanded, but you may be right about stopping at 14 schools.  16 is the number everyone is throwing out though.  If Texas and Notre Dame join the big 10 that would be huge additions.  I think OU and OK st will go to the PAC if they have to, but not sure they want their other sports traveling to the west coast that much.  Schools are going to be left out because of this, either by location or by money making ability.  But maybe the conferneces will create a promotion and relegation system like they do in European soccer.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 2:47 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

WVU should do everything in it's power to seperate the existing football schools from the current BIG EAST "hodgepodge conference" and form a new ALL SPORTS conference and add East Carolina Univ, UCF, S. Miss, and Memphis.

Sounds a lot like Conference USA.  The conference you are talking about has no chance at being a BCS conference.  The age of the super-conference is coming up fast!  If your school isn't in the Big 10, Pac 12, ACC or SEC you are going to be in danger of being left behind.  It's going to be a mad dash over the next 4 years as schools try to get into these conferences before they all close their doors to new members.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: September 18, 2011 2:38 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

i don't blame pitt and syracuse for leaving the big east.their hoop conference has too many teams 17.the acc is a better conference!

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 2:21 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

It is very very doubtful that WVU would be offered a membership in the ACC or SEC for many reasons.  WVU should do everything in it's power to seperate the existing football schools from the current BIG EAST "hodgepodge conference" and form a new ALL SPORTS conference and add East Carolina Univ, UCF, S. Miss, and Memphis.

Since: Nov 3, 2007
Posted on: September 18, 2011 2:08 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

rather have seen W. VA join the ACC rather than Syracuse

It's about money and TV markets.  Taking New York with over 19,000,000 people over a team from a state with only 1,800,000 is a no brainer.  It's not basketball driven, but a good basketball and overall athletic program IS a plus.      

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: September 18, 2011 1:47 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I think TCU needs to go back to the Mountain West. The Mountain West then needs to add the teams that are left out when the Big 12 dies and they will then become a automatic qualifier

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