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: Oct 17, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 12:18 pm

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Haha, TCU jumps ship to go to the Big East only to watch it collapse, I think the Horned Frogs are getting the short end on this one.

Since: Oct 9, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 11:52 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

This was brilliant by the ACC,  It insures that thier conference will not be raided by the SEC to create thier super conference.  Take the next step and offer invitations to W. Virginia and either Rutgers or S. Florida.  The SEC could counter with Lousiville and Cincinatti but they will more then likely have to go west.  The SEC should envite OU, OK St and if Texas agrees to opt out of the TV deal then take them as well, if not, bring Texas Tech or TCU once the Big East officially folds.  It would keep the conferences regional and make the SEC the best of the four super conferences.

This also forces the Big Ten's hands and more importantly Notre Dame.  It's time for the join us or stay independent forever ultimatum.  If the Big 10 can get Louisville, Cincinatti, Notre Dame and either Mizzou or Iowa St. it would rival the SEC in football and take a step closer to the ACC in basketball.  The PAC 12 then invites Boise St, BYU, Colorado St, and then take the most profitable state school remaining from the WAC or Mt. West.

I hope this leads to the end of the BCS and brings a football tourny, if not then the schools left out can come together and form a respectable 16 team conference, they can take the Big East's or Big 12's automatic BCS birth.  If not, Conf USA and the MAC also expands and applies for BCS status, depending on who they get.  Tradition be damned, it's anarchy, and hopefully it gets us closer to a true natioanal champion instead of the assumed one we get now.

Since: Aug 17, 2009
Posted on: September 18, 2011 11:37 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Anyone thinking hoops plays any part in this is crazy.. NCAA is 100% football driven in these re-alignments.  Hoops may as well be womens soccer...  And yes, ACC football is still very weak... This coming from someone who went to a certain ACC school that has dominated the conference in football since entering.

Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: September 18, 2011 11:34 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

ACC still blows as a football conference (by the way, great win Clemson! AWESOME)...everyone knows ACC is just a basketball conference

Thank you Captain Obvious.  You aren't stating anything anyone with a brain stem didn't already know.  My personal opinion though, I'd rather have seen W. VA join the ACC rather than Syracuse, but this move looks like it was made stictly for basketball purposes more than anything else.

Since: May 15, 2007
Posted on: September 18, 2011 11:21 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

OK Big Ten time to go get Mizzou and Kansas. Add some basketball fire power of your own and maybe entice Notre Dame to come along for the ride. They might be looking for a place to play if the Big East gets picked apart. That will leave one spot to get to 16 and a few Big East schools to go get if they wanted.

Since: Nov 3, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 11:15 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

What a great move for the ACC.  But, nobody cares about the rich tradition of academics and blah blah blah.  This is all about sports and not only does it add strength to the Bball schedule it also adds two teams with good tradition in football.  While Texas, Texas A&M and everyone else is on hold or waiting to make a move or call a bluff, the ACC acted.  Now, recruiting goes into the northeast and strengthens everything east of the Mississippi.  Superconferences are a thing of the 'NOW' and props to the ACC for taking charge.  Glad to see this change the landscape.

Since: Sep 18, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:53 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I see your point, fair enough, and I am sure there was more to this than what was reported in the blog.  As fans we never really see the inner workings of what goes in these conferences.  My comments were a reaction to what appeared to be an organizational conflict of interest reported in the blog.  FBS football drives a big business for these institutions and all that that entails. 

Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:39 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I agree the NCAA is not good for college sports, it seems they let conferences have more power than the NCAA! That's like the NFL giving the AFC or the AFC North(division) more power than the NFL! You would have thought the NCAA would have said we will realign all 120 of the FBS schools by regions. But I will watch it until they come up with a better system.

Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:31 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

You can say shame on Pitt all you want but what I've heard about the rejection of ESPN's deal was that when origianlly offered the BB only schools wanted it but the FB/BB schools said to wait. Then the Pac 12 got their deal and the BB only schools saw that they could get more $ because in their minds aside from LA the Big East has much bigger TV markets than the Pac 12. With NBC Sports Network about to launch on Jan 1 they figured a bidding war would ensue between NBC & ESPN. I'm guessing somewhere along the way with the Big East just sitting back and watching instead of going after teams to strengthen the appeal and the bidding by those networks Pitt figured it's best to have a seat when the music stops. I do agree that it's bad that he is the chair and this happened but him putting the breaks on the billion from ESPN had as much to do with all members of the conference, not just Nordenberg.

Since: Sep 6, 2009
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:27 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

ACC still blows as a football conference (by the way, great win Clemson! AWESOME)...everyone knows ACC is just a basketball conference

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