The University of Louisville on Tuesday officially joined the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The ACC is the Cardinals’ fourth conference since athletics director Tom Jurich arrived in 1997. At different times during his tenure, UofL’s conferences suffered from questionable stability. The ACC allayed those concerns in November 2012 with an offer for UofL to join.
On Tuesday, UofL leaders were all about celebrating. The university hosted a party on Fourth Street Live that featured the mascots from all 15 ACC member schools.
Here are some of the comments Jurich, UofL President James Ramsey and ACC Commissioner John Swofford made Tuesday about the school’s entry into the new league.
Jurich on preparing for the move:
“For us, when the commissioner called us Nov. 28 of 2012 and invited us into the league, we started that day. We started preparing that day every sport because we didn’t just want to come in the league. We knew the challenge were going to be in front of us, but we wanted to make sure that were set with our resources, we were set with our coaches, our support staffs, our academic training to make sure we could come in and compete. I’m not naive enough to think that we’re going to go in and win handfuls and handfuls of championships, although that’s going to be our goal. But we want to make sure that we can compete.”
The ACC asked UofL to join 11 days after the University of Maryland left for the Big 10. Here’s Swofford on the process:
“It was a pretty quick turnaround. When you think about it, you lose a school and you replace them with a school with the quality of Louisville in 11 days, that’s pretty remarkable. But I think it gets back to that we weren’t starting from ground zero. There was a lot of information there. We knew quite frankly everything we needed to know about the situation and about the University of Louisville. Through the course of basically little over a week, and probably four or five phone calls of our governance structure, it came together very quickly and it came together unanimously, I might add.”
Ramsey on the academic side of UofL’s move to the ACC:
“It offers us collaborations. We’ve already announced a collaboration with regard to emergency medicine with the University of Pittsburgh and we’re included in all kinds of conversations now and opportunities now that we just really haven’t had before. So I think we’re really just at the tip of the iceberg. But this the academic neighborhood that we want to be associated with and affiliated with as we continue to work as hard as we can every year to get academically better and better and better.”
Jurich on waiting for the ACC’s offer:
“I was talking with Dr. Ramsey and when Johnny called him, the thing for me was, there was relief. Because it was tense time. Those 11 days from when I got a phone call from Pat Forde asking me about if the University of Maryland—if the rumors were true. I didn’t know it, but Pat had good sources and we figured we better get started, and we went to work quite rapidly. “So those 11 day were very, very tough. Really, the weight of the world was on our shoulders because of conference expansion. We wanted a home. We knew we deserved a home and we deserved a great place like the ACC. The league is so tradition rich, so prestigious, and we felt that was the best fit for us at all times.”
And here are photos from Tuesday’s party: