Conference Realignment: ACC Adds Louisville to Replace Maryland

It’s Official: Louisville Is Headed to the ACC

The big news this morning is the ACC‘s unanimous vote to add Louisville as its 15th member, replacing Maryland, which announced its departure a week ago. While Louisville was certainly added for its football prowess, the school also adds an impressive basketball pedigree, along with a well-rounded and growing athletic program in a new geographic market for the ACC. Obviously, details still have to be worked out in terms of their departure from the Big East, however, one would expect the Cardinals’ arrival to coincide with the Terrapins’ exit.

Though the ACC was in contact with schools such as Connecticut, Cincinnati and Navy — some of which may have been a better traditional “fit” — in the end, they made the most strategic move available. Louisville was an in-demand property, drawing interest from the Big 12 as well. The rest, while desirable programs, were not going anywhere and could be available down the road if necessary. And again, Louisville had the best combination of basketball, football, new markets and growth potential. The school has made significant investments in academics and athletics in recent years, and now, that’s really paid off with an invite to the ACC.

So now what? Well, with luck, this will be the final move for the ACC, barring defections of course. Between adding the strongest program available in Louisville, and the lawsuit filed yesterday to pursue the full exit fee from Maryland, the conference appears to be on much more stable footing (knock on wood). The fact that all 11 current voting members, plus the three additions all backed the lawsuit is a positive sign going forward. No school would get behind enforcing a full $52.5 million-payout if they themselves intended to leave (conceivably, at least). And after the statements from charter members Virginia and North Carolina denouncing any talk of their departures, and the big win for the “football” schools in grabbing Louisville over UConn, things really do seem to be looking up.

We’ll have more analysis of this move throughout the day, but in the meantime, let this serve as an open thread for discussion. Agree with the move? Opposed? Give your thoughts on why Louisville’s the right/wrong choice for the ACC right now.

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9 thoughts on “Conference Realignment: ACC Adds Louisville to Replace Maryland

  1. Nice article, John. I agree 100% with this move. It’s a smart move on several levels:
    * It puts a $50 million obstacle in the way of the Big 12 getting U of L
    * It gives the ACC new TV markets and recruiting territory – which to some extent will now include 3 new states (KY, IN and OH).
    * Compared to Maryland, U of L is an obvious upgrade in the 2 sports that count
    * In the AD budget wars this is also a huge upgrade, going from a school with a $70 million debt to one with $70 to $80 million to spend every year.
    * It helps reassure schools like FSU, Clemson and Va Tech that the ACC is serious about football. Hopefully, that (plus tradition) is enough to make them all want to stay together.

  2. totally agree with the decision by the ACC!……Louisville was the best candidate all along and great news about UNC and Virginia announcing that they aren’t going anywhere!….a win/ win for the ACC

    • If it weren’t for the lawsuit, I’d be a bit more skeptical of UVa and UNC’s statements. However, given the fact they’d have to pay that amount if the suit was successful, I’d say it’s a positive sign for sure. Not going to throw a parade or anything, yet. But definitely taking steps in the right direction.

  3. Added for their football prowess?? “…the school also adds an impressive basketball pedigree”

    Dude – Louisville IS basketball. As a former Louisville resident and student, only a completely oblivious person would state they were added for their “football prowess”.

      • A comparison of football programs – UConn to UL, has no bearing on the point this comment makes. Saying they were primarily added for their football prowess, that would be the same as saying “I get to go to an SI swimsuit shoot…it’s gonna be great! Oh yeah, I also get to bang Kate Upton.”

        Stand by THAT. And THANK YOU.

  4. “…was certainly added for its football prowess, the school also adds an impressive basketball pedigree…” What an ignorant comment. You obviously know/care little about NCAA basketball. Allow a Kentuckian to explain: We are very happy that our UL football team is more competitive…very happy. But in Kentucky the sun rises and sets on basketball. And the newest ACC addition brings three (3) national basketball championships to the conference. Don’t advertise your lack of understanding by mentioning that as “…also adds…” I am not angry, just dumbfounded with your uninformed perspective.

    • On second thought, you may not be uninformed, just possibly more “drawn to” the big muscular, masculine football guys. ; )

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