Louisville told Big East it was leaving before it even had an invite

Andy Lyons

The Cardinals' bold move paid off.

Conference realignment was all the rage last year, leaving conferences jumbled and schools scrambling to pay buyout fees. One such school was Louisville, who left the Big East (currently the American Athletic Conference) for the Atlantic Coast Conference. As we learned today, however, it wasn't so simple -- the Cardinals actually told the Big East they were leaving before they received an invite from a new conference.

Athletic director Tom Jurich gave the conference notice 27 months before the move -- that's back in October 2011, for those counting -- which will save the school $4 million, bumping the fee from $15 million to $11 million. Louisville was originally planning on joining the Big 12.

The Big East attempted to convince Jurich to stay, but ultimately settled on convincing him not to submit a formal withdrawal letter, for fear of the news leaking out. Louisville told athletic directors of the other Big East schools of the move, and the Cardinals received an official invite from the ACC in November.

It was announced today that Louisville's move to the new conference has been finalized.

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