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ACC presidents vote to add Louisville as member

Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Pitt's Aaron Donald forces Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to throw the ball away at Hein Field Oct. 2012.

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Source: Middle Tenn. in Conference USA

Middle Tennessee has accepted an offer to join Conference USA and is leaving the Sun Belt, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday. Florida Atlantic has also been mentioned as a possible addition

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither conference nor Middle Tennessee had publically announced the decision. The Virginian-Pilot first reported the move.

It is unclear when Middle Tennessee will join the conference. The school announced it will hold a news conference on campus Thursday but did not say what it was in regards to.

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 9:00 a.m.
 

The ACC announced its presidents and chancellors have unanimously voted to add Louisville as the replacement for Maryland.

In a statement Wednesday, league commissioner John Swofford said the addition of Louisville along with Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse in the past 15 months has made the league stronger.

“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,” Swofford said.

Maryland announced last week it would join the Big Ten in 2014.

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.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said school officials “sincerely appreciate this opportunity” and that the move will “open so many more doors for us both athletically ... and academically for our university.”

“When it became apparent to us that we needed to make a move, the ACC is the perfect fit for us and we are so elated to be joining this prestigious conference,” Jurich said in a statement.

It's unclear exactly when Louisville will join the ACC. The Cardinals will be the seventh Big East school to leave for the ACC in the past decade.

Louisville mayor Greg Fischer issued a statement calling the ACC's decision “a fantastic development for the university, the city and the state.”

The Big East has a 27-month notification period for any member that wants to leave, and a $5 million exit fee. The Big East has shown a willingness to negotiate, as it did with Pitt and Syracuse, which paid $7.5 million each to get out early.

This latest rapid-fire round of realignment was set off last week by the Big Ten's additions of Maryland and Rutgers, which will join that conference in 2014.

On Tuesday, the Big East added Tulane for all sports and East Carolina for football only, also beginning in 2014.

Adding Louisville will bring the ACC to an even 14 full members, with Pitt and Syracuse beginning conference play in 2013.

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