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ACC adds Pittsburgh & Syracuse from Big East

The Atlantic Coast Conference became the first conference to expand as its added former Big East institutions Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

The ACC announced Sunday that’s its council of presidents unanimously voted to accept the two schools, moving their conference membership to 14 while leading the Big East in a scramble to replace two of its cornerstone programs.

“We are constantly evaluating the competitive landscape to ensure the conference’s viability for years to come, and this, I believe, has staying power,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said on a conference call.

What’s left to be seen is whether or not the conference stops there, or does this begin the domino effect of another shift in college athletics while marking the next step toward the era of 16-team superconferences.

The invitations to the ACC came after Pittsburgh and Syracuse submitted letters of application to join the league. It is unclear when the move will take effect however; as the Big East’s exit fee is $5 million, and schools wishing to leave must provide 27 months notice.

Florida State President Eric Barron said 11 of 12 league presidents attended a meeting in Greensboro, N.C., last Tuesday with the other joining via phone. During that meeting the presidents unanimously approved raising the exit fee to $20 million, up from $12 million to $14 million, for any member wishing to leave the conference.

The future of the Big 12 remains in doubt, with Texas A&M already announcing its intention to join the Southeastern Conference. The board of regents at both Oklahoma and Texas are meeting Monday to discuss the possibility of the universities leaving that conference.

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