The ACC also voted to increase its league football schedule from eight to nine conference games when the Panthers and Orange come on board.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse aren’t scheduled to join the ACC until July 1, 2014. However, that timetable could get moved up depending on if West Virginia is allowed to leave the Big East early for the Big 12. West Virginia is trying to join the Big 12 this fall, while the Big East is trying to make the Mountaineers honor the league’s exit agreement and stay until June 30, 2014.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse have not indicated they would pursue legal action, like West Virginia has, to leave the Big East before 2014, but sources told CBSSports.com that both schools are monitoring West Virginia’s situation and would try to join the ACC early if the Mountaineers are able to leave before 2014.
ACC commissioner John Swofford wouldn’t speculate on Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the ACC before 2014. “First of all, (that decision) is between Pitt and Syracuse and the Big East,” Swofford said.
However, if the Panthers and Orange can leave before 2014, the ACC will be ready.
“The fact we made our decision how we will schedule and compete certainly helps us (when they join),” Swofford said. “In terms of when that time may come, I don’t want to get into a hypothetical of this or that. Our position continues to be that we want to prepare ourselves when they’re ready and it’s appropriate for them to join us.”
If West Virginia leaves the Big East before 2014, it will likely have to pay a substantial financial penalty to the Big East. Swofford would not speculate whether the ACC would assist Pitt and Syracuse financially to assist them if they were able to leave the Big East early.
The ACC is expected to announce its 2012 football schedule in the next two weeks, so even if WVU and the Big East settles in the coming days it's unlikely Pitt and Syracuse would be able to join for the 2012-13 school year. Before the 2013 season is a more realisitic possibility.
Whenever they do get to the ACC, Pittsburgh will join Miami, Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division. Syracuse will join Clemson, Florida State, N.C. State, Boston College, Maryland and Wake Forest in the Atlantic.
The current primary crossover partners will remain consistent with Syracuse and Pitt becoming primary crossover partners with each other.
When Pitt and Syracuse join the ACC, the league will play a nine-game conference football schedule. The format will consist of each team playing all six in its division each year, plus its primary crossover partner each year and two rotating opponents from the opposite division.
“We’ve been evaluating (eight or nine-game league schedules) since back in the fall,” Swofford said. “We want to see and play each other as much as reasonably possible.”
Swofford also said that adding conference television inventory (more ACC games) also was beneficial.
This six-year cycle allows each team to play each divisional opponent and its primary crossover partner six times (three home and three away) while also playing each rotating crossover opponent two times (one home and one away).
In basketball, the ACC will play an 18-game conference schedule beginning in the 2012-13 school year.
After Pitt and Syracuse join, each school will have one primary partner (Boston College and Syracuse; Clemson and Georgia Tech; Duke and North Carolina; Florida State and Miami; Maryland and Pitt; N.C. State and Wake Forest; Virginia and Virginia Tech).
The scheduling model will be based on a three-year cycle during which teams will play every league opponent at least once with the primary partners playing home and away annually while the other 12 rotate in groups of four: one year both home and away; one year at home only; and one year away only. Over the course of the three-year cycle primary partners play a total of six times and all other conference opponents play four times.
The format allows each program to see opponents with more regularity and creates an increase in competitive balance throughout the teams.
The league also determined that all 14 league members will qualify for the ACC men's and women’s basketball tournaments. However, how the tournaments will be formatted will be announced at a later date.