The Louisville Cardinals will join the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC announced this morning. UL will likely join the ACC in 2014 when Maryland departs for the Big Ten.
Louisville has been a member of the Big East Conference since 2005. Prior to that, the Cardinals were in Conference USA from 1996 through 2004.
“With the addition of the University of Louisville, the ACC continues to be well positioned for the future competing at the highest level in all facets of the collegiate experience,” said the ACC Council of Presidents in a joint statement. “The ACC continues to be a vibrant conference that remains steadfast in its commitment to balancing academics and athletics.”
“The University of Louisville is honored to join the ACC, a conference with a long history of excellence in athletics and academics,” said Dr. James Ramsey, President, University of Louisville. “The ACC will be a great home for UofL and our commitment to great academics, groundbreaking research and top-notch athletic teams.”
In order to join the ACC in 2014, Louisville will have to negotiate with the Big East. The conference has a $10 million exit fee and a requires 27 months notice. However, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse were each able to negotiate an earlier exit from the conference.
Louisville, currently led by head coach Charlie Strong, is enjoying a successful run over the past few years. The Cardinals are 9-2 this season and 23-14 since Strong took over in 2010.
The Cardinals face Rutgers on Thursday night (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) to determine who wins the Big East and earns a BCS bowl bid.
The ACC will have 14 members in 2013 when Pittsburgh and Syracuse become official members of the conference. In 2014, the ACC will remain at 14 after Maryland departs and Louisville joins.
It remains to be seen which division Louisville will be placed in and what, if any, other shuffling of the alignment might occur.