Wednesday morning, the ACC made itself better.
It also made winning conference championships a steeper challenge for all its schools in a wide array of sports.
Louisville is serious about its athletic program, and its investment - a $68.8 million operating budget in 2011 according to the Sports Business Journal - has paid off with nationally competitive, and in some cases, elite programs on both the men's and women's side of its sports roster.
The Louisville football team, coached by Charlie Strong, plays Rutgers for the Big East title and a BCS bowl spot on Thursday night. It would be the second BCS appearance for the Cardinals, who recently completed a major stadium expansion (to 55,000 seats) and became one of the few schools in the country to install all chairback seating.
The men's basketball team, coached by Rick Pitino, played in the NCAA Final Four last season and is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation. The Cardinals have reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament 18 times, and have made it to the final eight in three of the last five seasons.
The Cardinals' men's soccer team will play at Maryland for a spot in the NCAA Final Four at Hoover, Ala. Louisville has become a fixture in the nation's top 20, and was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2010 before losing 1-0 to Akron in the NCAA College Cup championship match.
The Cardinals' golf, men's tennis and track/cross country teams are annually among the Big East's best, with national rankings and NCAA tournament appearances.
Louisville's baseball program reached the College World Series in 2007, and played in regionals in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
On the women's side, Louisville's basketball team made it to the NCAA Final Four in 2009 and is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation.
The volleyball team is ranked ninth nationally and just swept the regular season and tournament Big East titles. Both women's soccer and tennis are regulars in NCAA tournament play, and Louisville's rowing program has been one of the top three in the Big East, along with Notre Dame and Syracuse.