(Editor's Note: following is the text of ACC commissioner John Swofford's letter welcoming Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame as the league's new members).
Today is an exciting and historic day for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
We are proud to officially welcome Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC. Our conference has long enjoyed a rich tradition of balancing academics and athletics, and the addition of these outstanding member institutions further strengthens our league.
Please join us today as we celebrate this grand occasion by ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ in New York City. We hope you will make plans to watch the press conference this afternoon at 2 p.m., followed by the closing ceremony beginning at 3:45 p.m. Both events will be carried live on ESPN3 and The ACC Digital Network on theACC.com.
We are moving forward as a true Atlantic Coast Conference, with membership spanning from New England to South Florida. But with the addition of Notre Dame – and Louisville in 2014 – the ACC’s reach will extend far beyond the Eastern Seaboard.
When one looks at the geographic area that composes the ACC, we have the most television households and highest population of any conference nationally. In addition, it is projected that by 2030, 55 percent of the U.S. population will lie within the ACC footprint. Our marketplace opportunities, along with the population numbers, both current and projected, give the ACC enormous potential as a conference over the next 15 years and beyond.
It is fair to say this is the strongest collection of basketball programs that has ever been assembled in one conference, and our potential from a football standpoint is unlimited. The addition of our newest member schools greatly enhances our Olympic sports, which already have consistently ranked second to none.
The ACC has led FBS conferences in overall average ranking the last six years, and our new members only bolsters our league’s academic credentials. The ACC’s 15 member institutions rank first among BCS automatic qualifying conferences in the latest US News & World Report’s "Best Colleges" list by any measure.
I want to again express my thanks to the administrators of our member institutions for their leadership and tireless efforts in bringing us to this point. This is a milestone date for our league, our schools and our entire alumni and fan bases. I know that you share in our excitement as we take this giant step together.
Please join me in extending the warmest of welcomes to Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse as they officially join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
John Swofford, ACC Commissioner