GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to accept the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University as new members. 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 University 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."
"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," said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford. "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."
"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," said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "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."
"We are very excited to be joining the ACC. This is a tremendous opportunity for Syracuse, and with its outstanding academic quality and athletic excellence, the ACC is a perfect fit for us," said Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President of Syracuse University. "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."
Big East bylaws say both schools must wait 27 months before actually changing conferences, but officials at Pitt felt that timetable could be accelerated. However, the ACC did say they would fully respect the rules of the Big East.
The Orange were a charter member of the conference and Pitt joined in 1982.
"This is a very significant day for all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff at the University of Pittsburgh," said Steve Pederson, University of Pittsburgh Director of Athletics. "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."
Daryl Gross, Syracuse University Director of Athletics said, "Today is a day that we will remember for years to come. 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."
The ACC now has 14 members and there rumors the conference is interested in adding more to reach 16 schools. Texas is the big tamale, but the last two schools could also come from the Big East. Rutgers, UConn, Louisville and West Virginia have been discussed as teams that could be on the move.
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