Pittsburgh, Syracuse Attempt to Defect from Big East, Join ACC (Update)

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The Associated Press reported early Sunday that Big East conference mainstays Pittsburgh and Syracuse have plans to leave the Big East in order to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, according to Florida State President Eric Barron.

Barron confirmed the two schools had applied to the ACC, and that consideration could occur Sunday.

Should the move be approved, the ACC will be adding two schools with significant basketball history, increasing its credibility as one of the strongest basketball conferences in the nation. In addition, both Syracuse and Pittsburgh boast strong football programs.

The Big East, which currently has 16 teams, has already lost three to the ACC: Boston College joined most recently in 2005, and Virginia Tech and Miami both defected in 2004. With the Orange and the Panthers, The ACC would increase its membership to 14 schools.

In addition to shifting realignment focus off of the Big 12, this move would be a blow to the Big East not only because of the school’s sports programs, but their history. When the conference was established in 1979, Syracuse was one of its original members. Pittsburgh joined three years later in 1982.

Those clocks may soon be reset for a move to the ACC.

UPDATE (11:11 a.m.): The transfer is now official, according to the ACC.