It has been scarcely 12 hours since The Chronicle broke the news about the ACC's lawsuit to ensure it collects a full buyout from departing member Maryland, and it appears that conference officials are already prepared to name Maryland's replacement. Multiple sources have told David Glenn of the ACC Sports Journal that conference presidents and chancellors will gather on a 7 a.m. conference call Wednesday morning to cast votes on several potential expansion candidates.
Louisville is viewed by Glenn's sources as the most likely candidate to receive the necessary 75 percent of votes to have its invitation to the conference approved. The Cardinals currently play as a member of the Big East, where they have been affiliated since 2005. If they are invited to join the ACC, their departure would represent another blow to the Big East, which lost Rutgers to the Big Ten last week just after Maryland announced its intention to leave the ACC. Notre Dame, which announced in September that it would join the ACC, is also a former Big East member aside from its independent football program.
Louisville would bring a premier athletics program to the ACC. Since 2000, the Cardinals have appeared in a BCS bowl game in football, the Final Four in both men's and women's basketball, the College World Series of baseball and the College Cup of men's soccer. They are the only Division I program that can claim such a feat. Louisville's athletic department supports 23 athletic teams—10 men's and 13 women's—under the leadership of well-respected athletic director Tom Jurich, who was named athletic director of the year by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal in 2007.
Glenn reported earlier Tuesday that Connecticut and Navy were also potential candidates to be invited, but his sources did not think that their membership would pass the approval process at this time.
The addition of the Cardinals would restore the ACC to 14 participating football schools, with Notre Dame as the 15th school in all sports except football. The ACC's television contract with ESPN, worth a reported $3.6 billion, remains in limbo as the conference's membership shifts.
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