By: Chris Gates

PITSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — What many expected became official Wednesday evening.

Pitt announced it will move to the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1, 2013, by paying $7.5 million in exit fees. Syracuse was granted the same leave for the same price earlier in the week.

“We have appreciated and enjoyed our membership in the Big East and wish them much success in the future,” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. “We are anxious to compete in our final season in the Big East and look forward to an exciting future in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”

Pitt filed a lawsuit against the Big East in May for several reasons, the most prevalent being over lost revenue as TCU and West Virginia were allowed to leave agreements with the conference for next season.

Pitt engineered its lawsuit with the intentions of guaranteeing it would be playing in the ACC next year.

Pitt did not want to pay more than $5 million to leave the conference, but with Syracuse announcing it was leaving for just $7.5 million the Panthers and Big East were clearly able to come to terms.

“This is another step for the Big East to take toward a very exciting future,” interim Big East commissioner Joe Bailey said. “With the addition of our eight new members, the Big East will be incredibly strong and vibrant.”

The ACC was understandably pleased with Pitt’s announcement, as it ensures the league will grow to 14 teams in 2013.

“Today’s announcement that Pitt will be joining the ACC on July 1, 2013, is a terrific one,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said. “It’s exciting to know that both Pitt and Syracuse will become playing members in the ACC starting with the 2013-14 academic year. I’m pleased that both schools were able to finalize agreements with the Big East.

“The ACC has long enjoyed a rich tradition of balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens this conference. Throughout this past year, we’ve been preparing to welcome both teams into our membership and we look forward to the future of the ACC with these two school as prominent members.”

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog