By Haley O’Shaugnessy–
Louisville sports are accustomed to winning. The basketball team went to the final four last year, the volleyball team just won the Big East Championship and the football team just beat Rutgers for the Big East Championship. Yes, winning is something that Louisville sports do well. But as it turns out, winning is also something the Athletic Department in Louisville does well.
“Underdogs” was the word used to describe Louisville’s chance of entering the Atlantic Coast Conference. U of L was in a battle for a conference bid, fighting off schools like the University of Connecticut and the University of Cincinnati. Athletic director Tom Jurich said,
“They (the ACC) already has UConn not penciled in.” Yet Tuesday morning, after serious campaigning and lobbying for Louisville, the ACC’s Council of Presidents voted, and it was a unanimous decision: the Cards were in and Card nation was behind them.
Fans certainly did not mind the idea of leaving the Big East behind, following the attitude of Jurich.
“It’s been a lot of fun. There’s been a lot of great memories and it was a great home for us but times change and we all know that,” Jurich said. “So it’s our job, as athletic administrators, university administrators and people of this community to change with them.”
And he is right – times do change, seemingly at a rapid pace in college sports. Conference realignment is never truly over, even for the ACC. But U of L can at least count on more stability now than what the Big East offered. The move also allows the entrance of all regulation sports. Jurich said,
“We go into a conference that can accommodate all 23 of our sports. We don’t have to find new homes for some of our sports.”
It fits the university nicely, but the move is also smart for the conference. Louisville’s athletics and facilities are constantly bettering themselves. U of L athletics also generated $87.8 million last year – more than any other ACC school. The conference’s commissioner, John Swofford, is happy with giving the Cardinals a new nest. He said,
“With its aggressive approach to excellence in every respect, the University of Louisville will enhance our league’s culture and commitment to the cornerstones we were founded on 60 years ago.”
Strike up a win for the Athletic Department.
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal