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ACC accepts Pitt and Syracuse

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Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011

Pitt and Syracuse officially became the 13th and 14th members of the Atlantic Coast Conference today and Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said on a morning conference call that the move should not have been a surprise to the jilted Big East.

Nordenberg said he warned Big East Commissioner John Marinatto in writing in May, 2010, that the university would "seriously assess" other opportunities.

"Any university leader involved in intercollegiate athletics really has two fundamental responsibilities," Nordenberg said. "One is to work to build strength in a current conference home, which we at the University of Pittsburgh always have done in the Big East.

"Second is to be appropriately attentive to the changing landscape and institutional opportunities that might need to be pursued. We also have been attentive to that responsibility

"We also made very clear if other opportunities did arise we would feel as if we were obligated to seriously access them."

Nordenberg said the conference response was that other Big East schools were making similar plans.

On other matters, ACC Commissioner John Swofford said including Madison Square Garden in a rotation for a basketball tournament venue was "very appealing" to the conference.

Also, although Big East by-laws mandate a 27-months notice before an institution can leave the conference, Nordenberg said it could be modified.

"I would think in the weeks ahead everyone will be looking at the transition period and trying to determine whether that 27-months notice really serves everyone's best interests and whether there would be a modification to it.

"But our starting point is the Big East bylaws. The ACC would be comfortable with waiting that period of time if that, indeed, is how things unfold."

Pitt and Syracuse must pay a $5 million exit fee to the Big East.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said the conference's broadcast contract with ESPN can be contractually modified with the additions of the two schools.

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