Hey UConn and South Florida,
It was announced this morning that Louisville and ONLY Louisville has been voted into the Atlantic Coast Conference. The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind so let me get you up to speed.
Since losing Maryland to the Big Ten the ACC was always on the lookout to backfill for the Terps. And as always they turned their eyes on the Big East conference for that program. On first look UConn was the obvious addition given their geographic location (both on the East coast and near New York City), their strong basketball history, and the chatter last year over how they were inquiring about an ACC invite after Pittsburgh and Syracuse bolted.
Then it was rumored that the ACC would look beyond replacing just Maryland and possibly adding two or three of Louisville, UConn, and Cincinnati. It would have been a power move to protect against future raids by moving to 16 teams while capturing new markets and bringing along solid athletic and academic programs. This was spurred by the idea of the Big 12 expanding itself and taking Florida State and Clemson. Now, while the ACC’s $50 million exit fee was a deterrent for these schools to depart, Maryland as cash-strapped as any school in the country, shocked the world by challenging it en route to the Big Ten. It’s unclear if Maryland will have to pay the full sum of $50 million but even so they showed programs across the ACC that the exit fee could be overcome.
But it looks like as of now the ACC doesn’t seem worried about an impending Big 12 raid of the Seminoles or Tigers. They are taking a reactionary approach to conference realignment (heh, aren’t we all!) only adding Louisville as of now.
For Cincinnati fans this shouldn’t be too shocking. In most scenarios involving just one ACC addition the Bearcats were third at best behind the Cardinals and Huskies. For now just UC, UConn, and USF remain of the “original” Big East teams from 2005 (the real original teams bolted it ages ago). The qualifying words in there are “for now”. Remember just two weeks ago Rutgers and Maryland were firmly implanted in the Big East and ACC respectively. Just days later they were gone.
So while it may seem like the Bearcats were passed over yet again and the world is crumbling around us like a preteen that just got dumped by the ‘love of their life’ it’s extremely clear that conference realignment hasn’t yet run its course. I myself am keeping a close eye on just exactly how Maryland will pay the ACC’s $50 million exit fee. Like I mentioned if they can break the code look for Florida State and Clemson to start looking around themselves, potentially in the direction of the Big 12. Or the likes of Duke, North Carolina, and/or Virginia might start flirting with the Big Ten. Then if (and that’s another BIG ‘if’) those dominoes start to fall look for Cincinnati to join Louisville in the ACC sooner rather than later.
Just be patient. This crap is far from over.