SBD/November 28, 2012/Colleges

In The Cards: ACC Taps Louisville As Newest Member; Likely To Join In '14

The health of Louisville's football program may have aided its jump to the ACC
The ACC this morning voted to add the Univ. of Louisville as its 14th member (ACC). ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy cites sources as saying that UL is expected to join the ACC in '14, the same year the Univ. of Maryland leaves the ACC for the Big Ten. The Big East "requires a $10 million exit fee and 27 months notice, but the Cardinals -- like several schools before them -- should be able to negotiate a higher buyout to leave before the 27-month period." The ACC considered UConn and the Univ. of Cincinnati for membership, but sources said that the conference "only wanted Louisville because there is a sense among league presidents that the ACC can add more schools at a later date if the ACC lost any other schools." McMurphy notes UL maintains "one of the nation's top athletic budgets" at $84.4M, which is "higher than any current ACC member." The addition of UL "will not affect the ACC's new media rights deal" (ESPN.com, 11/28). YAHOO SPORTS' Pat Forde reports several Big East schools "made clear their interest in moving to the ACC" after UM announced its departure. However, sources said that UL "outmaneuvered the perceived early favorite, Connecticut, in large part because of the school's overall athletic commitment, the health of its football program and the issues Jim Calhoun left behind in the Huskies' basketball program." Cincinnati "also made a spirited 11th-hour push." Forde notes the "biggest stumbling block" UL had to overcome was its "modest institutional standing." However, sources said that the conference "is comfortable with Louisville because the ACC is too strong academically to have its reputation significantly altered by one new member" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/28). SI.com's Pete Thamel cites a source as saying that a "big reason that the ACC moved so quickly to add Louisville was that the Big 12 was interested as well." Thamel: "The ACC's proactive move signals that there will be more significant change on the college sports landscape" (SI.com, 11/28).

FEISTY ON THE EXIT FEE: In DC, Svrluga & Prewitt report the ACC has sued UM, asking that the school "be forced to pay an exit fee" of more than $52M. In the suit, filed Monday in Greensboro, N.C., the ACC is "pursuing a declaratory judgment, essentially asking the court to impose the rules its members have established" as the conference alleges that UM President Wallace Loh "has questioned the validity of such an expensive penalty." ACC officials view the suit as "a show of solidarity among the conference's remaining members." Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany yesterday said that "his conference is not prepared to help Maryland financially extract itself from the ACC" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/28).
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