Big East, Pittsburgh reach agreement on Panthers’ departure to Atlantic Coast Conference

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The new face of the Big East Conference just became a whole lot clearer.

Just days after agreeing to waive Syracuse’s 27-month exit window, the Big East Conference announced Wednesday that the league reached an agreement with the University of Pittsburgh on Pitt’s departure from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Under the terms of the agreement, Big East members will vote, in accordance with the league’s bylaws, to terminate Pittsburgh’s membership effective July 1, 2013. Pitt will then become a part of the ACC.

Just as Syracuse before it, Pittsburgh will make a total cash payment of $7.5 million to the Big East, which includes the “$5 million withdrawal fee under Big East Bylaws applicable at the time Pitt gave notice of withdrawal,” according to a statement released by the conference.

“This is another step for the Big East to take toward a very exciting future,” said Joe Bailey, Interim Commissioner of the Big East, in a statement. “With the addition of our eight new members, the Big East will be incredibly strong and vibrant.”

“We have appreciated and enjoyed our membership in the Big East and wish them much success in the future,” said Steve Pederson, Athletic Director of the University of Pittsburgh. “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.”

All three Big East schools — Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia — that have asked for withdrawal from the conference in the past year have been granted leave ahead of normally scheduled deadlines. These moves will make way for incoming schools Central Florida, Houston, Southern Methodist and Memphis (all-sports members), Boise State and San Diego State (football-only schools). Temple will join the Big East as a football school in 2013, while Navy joins as a football-only program in 2015.