Louisville to Join Atlantic Coast Conference in Exiting Big East

The University of Louisville is headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference after the school’s application was unanimously approved in a vote of the league’s presidents and chancellors.

The ACC was seeking a school to replace the University of Maryland, which is leaving for the Big Ten Conference in 2014. Louisville is expected to join the ACC from the Big East that year, according to ACCsports.com.

Louisville is the fourth school to exit the Big East for the ACC in the past 1 1/2 years, following Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame, which will be a member in all league-sanctioned sports except football. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are scheduled to join the ACC in 2013.

“The University of Louisville is an outstanding addition to the Atlantic Coast Conference and I commend the Council of Presidents for continuing to position our league for the long- term future,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “If you look at what has been done over the last 15 months, the ACC has only gotten stronger.”

Louisville’s jump to the ACC is the latest move in the realignment of college athletic conferences.

“When it became apparent to us that we needed to make a move, the ACC is the perfect fit for us and we are so elated to be joining this prestigious conference,” Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “We sincerely appreciate this opportunity. This will open so many more doors for us both athletically for all of our sports programs, and academically for our university.”

Changing Roster

The Big East, in addition to the planned departures of Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame, is losing Rutgers University to the Big Ten in 2014 and had West Virginia University exit for the Big 12 this season. The Big East announced yesterday that Tulane University and East Carolina University would join the league in 2014 from Conference USA.

Louisville’s arrival in 2014 would give the ACC 14 schools for football, a number Swofford has said is desirable for scheduling purposes. Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse are joining Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

“What I really like about this move is it’s terrific for our fans, with the proximity of the institutions and we never have to leave the Eastern time zone,” Jurich said.

The ACC began a 15-year, $3.6 billion television contract with Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN in July, with league members set to receive about $17 million annually through the 2026-27 academic year. The league may renegotiate the contract with ESPN with the addition of Notre Dame, the loss of Maryland and the addition of Louisville, according to ACCsports.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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