The ACC officially welcomed in three new schools Monday as the Syracuse Orange, the Pittsburgh Panthers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish joined the conference.
The move was commemorated with a news conference in New York City that featured ambassadors from three different ACC schools, according to the Sporting News (via The Associated Press). Commissioner John Swofford, North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams, Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher and Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer were all present.
Monday also marked the beginning of the new American Athletic Conference, which will effectively replace the Big East in football. The Big East will still exist with the "Catholic 7" schools plus Butler but will not compete in football.
The introduction of the three schools to the ACC is ultimately symbolic of the Big East's downfall, which started in 2010. It was in mid-September of that year that the ACC invited both Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the conference. That move, according to Sporting News, set the Big East into a downward spiral from which it never truly recovered from.
Because of the addition of the three schools in all sports besides football (Notre Dame will stay independent in football), the ACC has become one of the strongest conferences in the nation, both competitively and financially.
According to Sporting News, the members of the ACC have agreed to hand over media rights through the 2026-27 school year in hopes of becoming the largest media market in the country.
Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson called the school's move to the ACC, "Very exciting, and very historic," on The Fan Morning Show.
As part of the ACC's festivities in NYC Monday, the mascots from each school took a cruise of the Statue of Liberty.
One of the ACC's newest ventures is in NYC, where the conference is celebrating its expansion. Starting in 2014, the ACC will compete annually in the Pinstripe Bowl held at Yankee Stadium.
Swofford said in the Sporting News story that the conference's partnership with the Pinstripe Bowl is indicative of the way he wants the conference to go.
We want to make sure that we're progressive and creative and doing things that take advantage of the opportunities that come with that. In a lot of ways, it's about meshing the history and tradition of the league and its past, with a progressive approach to what the league can be in the future based on our footprint.
Ultimately, Monday is just another big step in what has become the jumbled mess of conference realignment. It's unlikely that the waters have calmed yet, but this marks the first jump into the new landscape of college sports.
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