Pitt, Syracuse Leaving Big East For the ACC
The next major move in conference realignment is happening on the East Coast, as Atlantic Coast Conference officials voted Sunday morning to approve adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse, two long-time members of the Big East Conference, as the 13th and 14th members of the ACC.
At least 10 schools had reportedly approached the ACC in recent days about possible membership. The expansion process took place quickly, with Pitt and Syracuse submitting their applications in the last 72 hours and ACC presidents voting this morning to accept them as members. Big East bylaws require a 27-month notice period before leaving, but officials say there are provisions that would allow teams to leave earlier. So it is unknown at this point just when the move would take effect.
TCU is scheduled to join the Big East next year, but this new development has many top officials now questioning the long-term stability of the conference. Big East members Rutgers and Connecticut are reportedly also under consideration as potential ACC expansion targets. There are also rumors that Texas would consider ACC membership if the Big 12 breaks up and if concerns about the Longhorn Network could be addressed.
This is not the first time Big East programs have left to join the ACC. Three other current ACC teams — Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech — left the Big East in 2004-05 to bring the ACC to its current 12-team format.
In related news, the ACC, anticipating further realignment shake-ups, voted on Saturday to raise the league’s exit fee from $12 million to $20 million for any team who leaves the conference.