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.