With the Atlantic Coast Conference set to vote early Wednesday on adding its next member, Jim Young of ACC Sports reminded us that the vote appeared to be a mere formality, with Louisville, another Big East school, the obvious choice.
As I said, I'd think ACC wouldn't call for vote if Cards didn't have the votes, but stranger things have happened. (See, Syracuse, Take 1)
— ACC Sports (@ACCSports) November 28, 2012
Young was right, as ESPN's Brett McMurphy disclosed that the Louisville Cardinals would be the newest member of the ACC.
BREAKING: ACC votes to add Louisville sources tell @espn. Cards will be 6th team to leave Big East for ACC
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) November 28, 2012
What seemed like a long shot for the Cardinals finally came to fruition in what Louisville folks are calling a truly great day.
Louisville to ACC. Maybe the biggest moment in the history of Louisville Athletics #FB
— Chris Hatfield (@_ChrisHatfield) November 28, 2012
Sure, West Virginia fans will cry foul and talk about the ACC being hypocrites when the Mountaineers' bid for inclusion was reportedly denied, at least in part due to the academics in Morgantown. Maybe the ACC is made up of a bunch of phonies, a bunch of fakes who just didn't want to play ball with the Mountaineers.
That is OK, because as things continue to evolve, the ACC will be a league of phonies that survives.
When West Virginia was pining for acceptance, the conference was good to go. It had designs on expanding, but only with schools that fit its profile.
West Virginia missed out.
Now, in a climate that has seen Maryland leave the ACC and Florida State and Clemson grow even more restless, the ACC had to compromise on part of its academic mission. When it is demise versus compromise, you always pick compromise.
UConn, until recently the school most thought to be picked up by the ACC, adds little beyond access to the great New York television market—a market, it must be noted, that has shown relatively little interest in UConn athletics.
What the ACC gets with Louisville is passion and commitment to football success. That is something that Florida State and Clemson want to see in the ACC. By adding Louisville instead of UConn, the ACC has appeased its two most uncertain members, which gives the conference more stability.
The ACC is not "there" yet. The league still is fifth among major conferences from a financial and prestige standpoint. But with the addition of Louisville, it improves its football product, and improving on the field helps improve a league's financial prospects—and that's what this is all about.
Survival is the name of the game, and the ACC, with commissioner John Swofford at the helm, has made another move to solidify its place as a major conference on the college landscape.