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Conference Realignment: Big East Reaches Exit Agreement With Pitt

The Big East and Pitt announced on Wednesday an agreement that allows the Panthers to leave for the ACC in time for the 2013-2014 season -- a year ahead of schedule. In return, the school will pay the conference $7.5 million, which includes the original $5 million exit fee plus an additional $2.5 million, according to

"We have appreciated and enjoyed our membership in the Big East and wish them much success in the future," said Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson in a statement. "We are anxious to compete in our final season in the Big East and look forward to an exciting future in the Atlantic Coast Conference."

The Panthers will now join the ACC on July 1, 2013. Earlier this week, Syracuse, which is leaving the Big East for the ACC as well, reached a similar agreement. With both programs in the fold, the ACC boasts 14 member schools.

"This is another step for the Big East to take toward a very exciting future," Big East interim commissioner Joe Bailey said. "With the addition of our eight new members, the Big East will be incredibly strong and vibrant."

Following the departures of Pitt and Syracuse, the Big East has since added Temple for this season, as well as Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and UCF.

For more on the Pittsburgh Panthers, visit SB Nation's Pitt blog Cardiac Hill. For more on the move to the ACC, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.