By Sean Fernandez
After Syracuse University announced their intentions to move from the Big East to the ACC in September, the only question left to answer was “when?” It was assumed that SU would attempt to leave by 2013, but there remained a chance that the Big East would stick to the 27-month waiting period that is stated in the conference’s bylaws.
After months of negotiations, we now know when. Syracuse will officially leave the Big East (and join the ACC) on July 1, 2013. As further compensation, the University will have to pay a $7.5 million dollar exit fee. The 2012-2013 academic school year will be the 34th and final season that SU calls the Big East home.
In the words of Dr. Daryl Gross, Director of Athletics for Syracuse University, "We look forward to the new academic and athletic partnerships and the extraordinary competitive opportunities that membership in the ACC offers. We are excited about both our final season in the Big East and our long-term future with the ACC."
A lot will change, that’s for sure. The days of heading to the Dome to see SU take on Georgetown, UConn, Villanova, and St. John’s every year are over. Instead, UNC, Duke, Virginia Tech, and Maryland will be the ones we’re rooting against. The days of painting Madison Square Garden Orange for the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament are over. Instead, fans have to travel south to catch the ACC MBB tourney. The days of being conference rivals with Pittsburgh, well, they’re not going anywhere.
The University of Pittsburgh announced its intentions to leave the Big East and head to the ACC on the same day that SU did, but they’re still looking for the answer to the “when” question. University of Pittsburgh brass attempted to force their way out early, but Big East officials didn’t budge. Sources say that Pitt will most likely be out of the Big East before 2014, but an official date has yet to be set.
When July 1, 2013 rolls around (approximately 350 days from now), Syracuse Athletics will begin a new chapter in its illustrious history. The move to the ACC is an opportunity for continued prosperity both on-and-off the field, but it doesn’t come without a price- 30+ years of history and rivalries formed as a member of the Big East.
Will this be a good move for Syracuse athletics in the long run? Yeah, probably. But am I still a little upset that the teams I love to hate won’t be around as much? Absolutely.