Louisville Aac, The University of Louisville and the American Athletic Conference announced Wednesday that they have reached an agreement to allow Louisville to leave the American and be in position to join the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1, 2014.
The American announced that conference members voted to terminate Louisville’s membership in the American. The agreement, by all accounts considered an easily negotiated parting of ways, is the final roadblock Louisville had to surpass in order to switch conferences.
“I am pleased to announce this agreement and pleased that Tom Jurich and I worked together in a spirit of friendship to complete it,” American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco said. “I have great respect and admiration for Tom and for the manner in which Louisville conducted itself in our negotiations. We wish Louisville the best and appreciate what they have meant to our conference.”
Louisville originally agreed to a two-year membership deal with the newly formed conference, which consists of multiple former Big East and Conference USA members.
“I’m glad we have been able to work face-to-face with Mike Aresco to reach a fair settlement for us to depart the league a year early,” Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich said in the American statement.
Louisville will pay $11 million in exit fees to the American, $5 million of which Louisville has already paid.Louisville made a $2.5 million payment to the American three days after it formally accepted the ACC’s invitation on Nov. 28, 2012. Another $2.5 million payment was made on Sept. 5 of this year.
If Rutgers University’s exit fee to leave the American is lower than $11 million, the American would return the difference of Louisville’s $11 million payment. The American originally set Rutgers’ exit fee at $10 million, but the sides are tangled up in court.
Louisville’s willingness to work with the American was considered a key element in keeping U of L’s exit fee relatively low and the two sides away from a legal circus.
Last week Louisville president James Ramsey told 84 WHAS “a lot of things have to fall in place” before the Cardinals could officially become ACC members.