It's official - Pitt is headed to the ACC in 2013. The Panthers will reportedly pay $7.5 million as part of the deal to get out a year earlier than the 2014 target date. Ever since Syracuse negotiated their way out, it seemed like Pitt would be next.
Athletic director Steve Pederson sent out an email to fans for their support:
Dear Panthers Fan,
I am very pleased to let you know that we have reached an agreement that allows Pitt's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference July 1, 2013. We have much work to do prior to that time, including having a very successful year in the Big East in what will be our final season.
We are honored to be joining the historic Atlantic Coast Conference with its outstanding institutions as our partners.
It is important that we also remember that for our seniors, 2012-13 will be the most important season of their careers. We will do everything possible to make sure this final season in the Big East, and their final season, is a great success. It will be a delicate balance, but we need to focus our commitment to our student-athletes on Big East success this season prior to celebrating the move to the ACC.
To many constituents and our recruits, it is time to trumpet the move to the ACC. As one of the truly historic brands in college sports, we believe the ACC provides the best combination of academic and athletic success of any major conference. The principles of the ACC are "A Tradition of Excellence... Then, Now, and Always." These principles are right in line with the great history and continuing aspirations of the University of Pittsburgh. We have already seen many of the benefits of ACC membership in just the past year.
This move to the ACC begins a new era of greatness in Pitt Athletics and the future is even brighter for those who love this University. While it has always been a great time to be at Pitt, our greatest days still lie ahead.
For more on the Panthers, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.