Per Pat Forde at Yahoo!, Mike & Mike on ESPN and WRAL, et al, the ACC has approved the addition of Louisville for 2014. Others lobbied, but the consensus seems to be that the ACC could always add UConn and Cincinnati later.
There are now more former Big East members (6) than charter members (5) in the ACC.
Louisville is arguably an upgrade over Maryland, and it was a smart preemptive move against Big XII expansion, where Louisville was rumored to have interest, and it at least seemed like the preferred option was Louisville-Florida State. So, this may mean the Big XII isn’t looking to expand right now.
But will it be enough to hold the league together?
Louisville lobbied hard, per Pat Forde (Yahoo!):
According to a Sports Business Journal story in 2011, Louisville’s total athletic budget of $68.8 million was bigger than every public school in the ACC but North Carolina’s ($72.2 million). UConn’s budget was reported as $64 million by Sports Business Journal. Cincinnati’s budget figures were not available.
Louisville football is bowl-bound for the third straight season under coach Charlie Strong and started this season 9-0. The sophomore-laden Cardinals will play Rutgers Thursday night with a BCS bowl berth on the line. Louisville also is the only current Big East school to have won a BCS bowl, beating Wake Forest in the 2007 Orange Bowl.
Beyond football, Louisville sold its well-rounded athletic program to the ACC. The Cardinals went to the men’s Final Four last year and are currently ranked fifth in the nation, while annually running the nation’s most profitable basketball program. The women’s basketball program advanced to the 2009 Final Four and currently is ranked seventh. And the baseball program made the 2007 College World Series and has been a regular NCAA tournament participant in recent years.
After being outflanked last year for a spot in the Big 12 by West Virginia, Louisville was prepared to pounce when this opening presented itself. The biggest stumbling block the school had to overcome with the academically prestigious ACC was its modest institutional standing – Louisville is 160th in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings of American universities, far below most of the league’s schools. (Five rank in the U.S. News top 30: Duke, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Virginia and North Carolina.)
But multiple sources said and the conference is comfortable with Louisville because the ACC is too strong academically to have its reputation significantly altered by one new member. Louisville’s recent efforts to build its endowment and improve its overall academic profile were noted as well.
See that bolded portion and keep that in mind next time anyone suggests academics actually matter in all this.
More to come.
We still have a coaching search not yet finalized, and you discuss that or the addition of Louisville or last night’s game over on the SFN Forums.