SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Big East has reached an agreement with Syracuse University, allowing the Orange to leave the league a year early for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Syracuse announced last fall its intention to join the ACC, but under Big East bylaws the school needed to serve a 27-month exit period. Instead, the Orange will now be allowed to leave July 1, 2013, and will have to pay a fee of $7.5 million to depart – $2.5 million more than specified in the conference bylaws.
“Both sides thought the deal was truly reasonable, and it was done in a most collegial way,” Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross said.
A vote will be taken the next time the Big East presidents meet, likely via teleconference. That session has not been officially scheduled, according to associate commissioner John Paquette.
“This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for the Big East’s future,” interim Commissioner Joe Bailey said. “With the recent addition of eight schools to the Big East, the future for the conference has never been brighter.”
Pittsburgh is also leaving the Big East for the ACC, but its departure date remains uncertain. The school filed a complaint in a Pennsylvania court in early May, saying the Big East had waived its right to enforce its 27-month withdrawal notice and that the Panthers should be allowed to move to the ACC without further penalty by the 2013-14 conference year.
The Big East was formed in 1979 with Syracuse as one of seven original members.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced in September that they were jumping to the ACC, and the Big East initially announced that it would hold both schools to their league membership through the 2014-15 season.
Pitt paid half its $5 million exit fee at the time of the announcement and agreed to remain in the conference until July 1, 2014.
That move led Big East member West Virginia and TCU, which had agreed to join the Big East in 2012, to instead bolt for the Big 12, and the Big East extended offers to Boise State and San Diego State, among others.
When Pitt does get its release from the Big East, the ACC will go to a nine-game conference schedule in football. ACC Commissioner John Swofford said all 14 schools would play in both the men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments.