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ACC presidents vote unanimously to add Louisville as 14th conference member

Nov 28, 2012, 9:04 AM EST

Rick Pitino, Russ Smith

The University of Louisville has become the 14th member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, following a unanimous vote by league presidents Wednesday morning, Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com first reported.

The news confirms a report by David Glenn of ACCSports.com Tuesday evening of the impending vote.

Louisville jumps ship from the Big East, a conference that has now lost Pittsburgh, Syracuse, TCU, West Virginia, Rutgers, and Notre Dame in the last 18 months.

The Cardinals are the latest domino to fall, just one week after Rutgers announced its intentions to move to the Big Ten.

And the Big East defections may not be over.

According to Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com, the ACC was in contact with four schools—Louisville, Connecticut, Cincinnati, and South Florida—about realignment possibilities. Connecticut and Cincinnati have long been floated as candidates to jump from the Big East to the ACC.

For Louisville, they replace Maryland, who bolted for the Big Ten along with Rutgers last week.

With the addition of the Cardinals, the ACC gets an upgrade in both football and basketball over Maryland, a school that could win the Big East in football this season and is fresh off a Final Four run under coach Rick Pitino on the hardwood.

Perhaps even more importantly though, the ACC taps into a state and television market that it previously didn’t have. As conferences grow away from their traditional regional affiliations and expand outward, new markets mean new streams of revenue. The ACC now includes the best football team in the state of Kentucky and a basketball team that can compete with the SEC’s Kentucky and the Big Ten’s Indiana in the region.

The move also saves Louisville from being left out in the cold in conference realignment, after nothing came of rumors months ago that the Cardinals would be headed to the Big 12.

Geographically and in regards to travel, the move to the ACC isn’t much different for Louisville than the proposed move to the Big 12. The new alignment will have the Cardinals traveling only slightly farther north than they did as members of the Big East (Boston College/Providence) and slightly farther south (Miami/South Florida).

But on the other side, the job now becomes even more difficult for Big East commissioner Mike Aresco, who is leading his conference into key television negotiations that could dictate the future financial stability of the league. With Louisville out and others possibly ready to leave, the conference’s value continues to take a hit.

In a move that is now overshadowed by Louisville’s departure, the Big East added Tulane Tuesday as a full member and East Carolina as a football-only institution.

More will be added to this story as it becomes available.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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