The University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University have submitted applications to join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), a “high-ranking ACC official” has told ESPN’s Heather Dinich.
The source also says that the ACC’s presidents voted unanimously to raise the “buyout” cost for member institutions from $12 million to anywhere between $14-20 million – making it costlier for programs to leave the conference.
(To read Dinich’s report in its entirety, click here).
The ACC’s power play comes amid a flood of “realignment rumblings” in college football – most notably Texas A&M’s ongoing efforts to bolt the Big XII for the Southeastern Conference. As the Aggies’ intentions became clearer, speculation swirled that the powerful SEC might attempt to poach from the ACC in an effort to create a “super conference” (as if winning five consecutive national championships wasn’t “super” enough).
Now it appears as though the ACC may be doing some poaching of its own – in addition to moving to protect its existing 12-team alignment.
The ACC has raided the Big East in the past – scooping up Miami and Virginia Tech in 2004 and Boston College in 2005. Florida State joined the ACC in 1992. Of course the addition of these schools hasn’t enhanced the conference’s competitiveness – if anything it’s made the powerful Florida programs weaker.
Founded in 1953, the ACC has lost only one program over the course of its history – the University of South Carolina. The Gamecocks bolted in 1971 – two years after winning the school’s most recent conference championship in football.
If Pitt or Syracuse wish to leave the Big East, they’ll have to shell out $5 million and give the conference 27 months notice.