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 18, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:14 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I wonder if Pitt offers an Ethics course in it's curriculum?  The comment below from your article is very distrurbing

"What's most troubling to Big East officials is that Pittsburgh chancellor Mark Nordenburg is the chairman of the Big East's executive committee. Nordenburg also "put the brakes" on accepting a $1.3 billion media rights deal from ESPN this spring. Now Pitt is gone to the ACC. "It's sort of like the fox in the hen house," a Big East source said."

Probably not illegal behavior but sounds very unethical.  If he didn't like the way the conference was headed he should have relinquished his role as the chair of the executive committee and allow someone else to lead in good faith.  This probably has completely sunk the Big East's chance at a better media contract, and may kill the conference completely.  Interesting that Pitt is also one of the schools that voted against Villanova upgrading it's football program last spring.  Funny how they are both in Pennsylvania.    In the end, I suspect it's all about the benjamins, no matter what the ethical cost.   Shame on Pitt.

Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:09 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

As a life long Big East/Pitt Panther fan, I hate this move...  I could care less about college football, but Big East basketball has been so amazing for so long.  This is the second worst thing to happen to Pitt in my lifetime.  The first was when Penn State went to the Big Ten and the Pitt Penn State football rivalry ended.  

Since: Jun 8, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:00 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

I think it ironic that perhaps the most conservative conference is the first to expand to 14.  If the stories are correct, and there are 8 more schools with applications to the ACC, then I think that speaks volumes to how others in college athletics view the strength of the conference.  I wish I knew who those other 8 were.  It would be nice to have a few more Big East teams join so that more of the traditional east coast rivalries could stay in tact.  On the other hand...would love to grab Texas too.

Since: Aug 13, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 9:37 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

"the NCAA is a complete wreck and needs to be obolished. u have multiple teams changing conferences at will which is destroying college sports."

I think perhaps you are over reacting to the current turmoil in college athletics. The universities will remain standing, football, basketball, et al, will remain functioning, and previous nonconference opponents will now be conference opponents. An adjustment in attitude among fans such as you and I will be necessary, but that will occur, and those yet-to-be fans too young to know the difference won't care what conference their schools were in when daddy was young. All is good - all is good.

Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: September 18, 2011 9:36 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Wake up 99 Rams. College sports are taking over. NFL/NBA are losing fans to the college ranks. I think everyone who would rather watch pro sports instead of college are white trash. Do you like Nascar too?

Since: Jan 10, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 9:33 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

great move for basketball???? destroying conferences in order to get 1 good game? seriously? there are enough good games as it is in the ACC. destroying conferences that have been around for decades and leaving them in ruins so u can have more more good game is not great for basketball? think outside the box for a second black mamba and look at the big picture.

Since: May 28, 2008
Posted on: September 18, 2011 9:25 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Great move for basketball!!! Tarheels vs Syracuse on a yearly basis!!! I love it!

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 9:20 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

This is a great moved for all involved.  The ACC had no choice but to be pro-active, they could not risk FSU, Clemson or VT to leave for the SEC and now their is no chance that happens.   Pitt and Cuse now move into a beter football and basketball conference.

Since: Dec 19, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 8:54 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

Syracuse leaving the Big East sucks.  They were one of the founding members and it hurts tradition and history.  And tradition/history are legit money-making parts of college sports...way more than the Pro's.  And i find it hypocritical that NCAA athletes can't be paid, among other reasons, because it would harm the purity and tradition of NCAA athletics. Meanwhile the College presidents treat their schools and conference moves like free-agency going where they can get the most money and ignore the purity and tradition they preach. It's fine to go get the money...just let everyone do it. Frankly i don't care about Pitt leaving...great school but not a Big East icon like Syracuse or Georgetown. 

Since: Jan 10, 2010
Posted on: September 18, 2011 8:49 am

ACC officially adds Pitt, Syracuse

the NCAA is a complete wreck and needs to be obolished. u have multiple teams changing conferences at will which is destroying college sports. ive never seen any sport like college football where u can loose the 1st game of the year and have your season be over (unless u are a certain 5-10 schools) OR u can win all your games and not win a championship??? its bad enough they exploit these kids and make millions of dollars off them but yet if they take a free pair of shoes, they are banned? so what bout all the other teams in the big 12 or big east? im astonished that teams can just up and move at will? i hate college sports and never watch em until they get rid of the NCAA.

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