ACC aspirations rejected
In this Nov. 19, 2012 file photo, UConn plays Louisville at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Although UConn beat Louisville in three overtimes, Louisville beat out UConn for the No. 14 ACC spot. JESS CONDON/The Daily Campus
The Atlantic Coast Conference has extended an invitation to the University of Louisville to become the conference's 14th member, denying UConn the chance to leave the Big East and join the ACC.
ACC presidents and chancellors awarded Louisville entrance into the conference when the school received three-fourths of the vote necessary to earn the invitation. Louisville will replace Maryland, who recently left the ACC for the Big 10 conference. The Cardinals are expected to begin conference play in the ACC in 2014. However, Louisville will soon begin the process of negotiating with the Big East to allow them to leave the conference early and bypass the 27 month notification period.
The Big East waved the 27-month notification rule for Syracuse and Pittsburgh when they left for the ACC, but required the two schools to pay stiff fines of $7.5 million dollars for exiting the conference early. The Big East has since raised that fine to $10 million, according to the Associated Press.
Tom Jurich, Vice President and Athletic Director at Louisville, said in a statement on Wednesday that he is excited to join such a prestigious conference like the ACC and is appreciative of what the Big East has done for Louisville athletics over the years.
In a statement yesterday, ACC commissioner John Swofford said that the addition of Louisville will enhance the conference that already has a proud history.
"With its aggressive approach to excellence in every respect, the University of Louisville will enhance our league's culture and commitment to the cornerstones we were founded on 60 years ago," said Swofford. "The University of Louisville is an outstanding addition to the Atlantic Coast Conference and I commend the Council of Presidents for continuing to position our league for the long-term future."
UConn and the University of Cincinnati made strong cases to the ACC to be the 14th member of the conference, but the ACC declined to invite either school. When Maryland first announced they were leaving the ACC, UConn emerged as a leading candidate to fill the void, based on the success of UConn's sports teams as well as the New York television market that the Huskies would bring to the table.
When the ACC presidents and chancellors came together to vote on who would be awarded the invitation to join the conference, only four schools supported UConn's inlusion into the ACC, according to NBC Connecticut's Kevin Nathan. Those four schools were Wake Forrest, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia.
According to The Hartford Courant the decision not to extend an invitation to UConn was based more on "perceived football superiority" than on the academic issues and NCAA violations surrounding the men's basketball team. UConn President Susan Herbstsaid in a written statement that the Huskies will continue to succeed based on its strong athletic trwaditions.
"I know this may seem like a tough moment for our fans, but we need to focus on the fundamentals of academic success across the university and in our athletic program as well," said Herbst. "We are winners - we win, we like to win and we will cwontinue to play the best possible opponents. We will be athletically successful, regardless of our conference, because of our successes in NCAA competition."
UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel also said that conference realignment will continue to be a prominent national issue. Manuel also said that the athletic department will continue to monitor the situation and will make choices in the university's best interest as they moving forward.
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