ACC presidents vote to add Louisville to replace Maryland

Atlantic Coast Conference leaders got the school they wanted. Louisville was relieved to find a home amid the latest wave of realignment.

The ACC announced Wednesday that its presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to add Louisville as the replacement for Maryland, which will join the Big Ten in 2014.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was concerned the Cardinals would be left behind in a constantly shifting landscape.

“You always worry about that, there’s no question about it — especially when you’re sitting in our chairs,” Jurich said in a teleconference. “But I think when you look at what we’ve done and the body of work, I think it was very well worth it to wait because we were able to get what we wanted.

“We feel it’s the best fit for this university.”

Louisville was a candidate to join the Big 12 last year before that league took West Virginia, though Maryland’s unexpected announcement last week created a new opportunity for both the school and the ACC.

But it wasn’t a lock for the Cardinals.

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that ACC leaders also considered Connecticut and Cincinnati over the past week before the vote to add Louisville during a conference call Wednesday morning. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the ACC hasn’t released details of the expansion discussions

The Cardinals will bring a tradition-rich men’s basketball program, a solid football program and a college-focused market to the ACC.

“When you look at Louisville, you see a university and an athletic program that has all the arrows pointed up — a tremendous uptick there, tremendous energy,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said. “It’s always an overall fit in every respect and I think that’s what we found.”

Louisville is the fourth school in 15 months and seventh in the past decade to leave the Big East for the ACC. Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced their move in September 2011 and will join the league next year, while Notre Dame said two months ago that it would eventually join in all conference sports except football.

Most of Notre Dame’s non-football sports have competed in the Big East since 1995.

“We had incredible success in that conference,” Jurich said of the Big East. “But when it began to deteriorate, we felt that all our options were pulled away from us and we had to look and we were forced to look.

“To see a lot of your peers moving around you and leaving nobody to schedule, it was very, very difficult for us to see and a very once-proud conference I think was in a very difficult position.”

Politicians around Kentucky cheered the move.

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