Update, 11 a.m. The ACC announced that Louisville has been voted in as a member.
“With its aggressive approach to excellence in every respect, the University of Louisville will enhance our league’s culture and commitment to the cornerstones we were founded on 60 years ago,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “The University of Louisville is an outstanding addition to the Atlantic Coast Conference and I commend the Council of Presidents for continuing to position our league for the long-term future. If you look at what has been done over the last 15 months, the ACC has only gotten stronger with the additions of Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse.”
Louisville replaces Maryland as the 14th member of the ACC as the conference realignment version of musical chairs continues. Maryland left the conference it helped found for the Big Ten last week.
Louisville will add a successful and tradition-bound basketball program and a football team that has improved in recent years. The Cardinals won the 2008 Orange Bowl with then-coach Bobby Petrino and will make its third consecutive bowl trip following this season. The Cardinals shared the Big East title last year and would go to a BCS bowl this season if they beat Rutgers Thursday.
The team averaged 49,991 in attendance in this season, 40th in the country and better than seven ACC schools, including Tech.
The addition will again boost what could be considered the top basketball conference in the country. With coach Rick Pitino, the Cardinals reached the Final Four last season and have also qualified for the NCAA tournament nine of the past 10 years.
Louisville has been a member of the Big East, joining in 2005 from Conference USA. It was a part of that league 1995-2005. Prior to that, it was in the Metro Conference (of which Georgia Tech was also a member) 1975-95.
Louisville is the seventh school that the ACC has poached from the Big East, following Boston College, Miami, Notre Dame (joined the ACC as a full member except for football), Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia Tech. With the impending departure of Maryland and the addition of Louisville, the ACC will have more former Big East members than charter members (five – Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest).
The school won a spot in the league over Connecticut and Cincinnati, which were also trying to leave the Big East. Louisville does not have the academic standards that the conference has prided itself on; it is ranked 160th by U.S. News and World Report magazine among national universities, 54 spots below the lowest-ranking member (N.C. State) and lower also than Connecticut (63) and Cincinnati (139).
U.S. News ranking
Boston College 31
Syracuse, Pittsburgh 58
Virginia Tech 72
Florida State 97
N.C. State 106
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog