Report: Syracuse, Pitt apply to ACCSep 17, 2011 - 3:42 PM (Sports Network) - The shift in conference affiliation could be continuing with reports Saturday that Syracuse and Pittsburgh have serious interest in joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The New York Times had initially reported that Syracuse and Pittsburgh had been in discussions with the ACC, but ESPN has reported that the two Big East schools have tendered letters of application for membership.
If Syracuse and Pittsburgh were to leave, it wouldn't be the first time the ACC has expanded at the expense of the Big East. Miami-Florida, Virginia Tech and Boston College all defected from the Big East for the ACC, which now consists of 12 teams.
The Big East currently has 16 teams and is arguably considered the top men's basketball conference in the country. The ACC is also part of that discussion, but both leagues aren't nearly as strong in the powerful money-making sport of football.
Only eight current Big East members play in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the conference is considered the weakest of the six leagues with automatic bids to the lucrative BCS bowl package. The departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh would considerably lessen the Big East's status, unless it could lure teams from other conferences.
TCU is already set to join the Big East next year, while Baylor and Iowa State have reportedly made overtures to the Big East if the Big 12 dissolves. The Big 12 lost Nebraska and Colorado for this academic year and Texas A&M is also on its way out, while Oklahoma and other league members have been considering a jump to other conferences.
Syracuse is a charter member of the Big East, which formed in 1979, and Pitt joined in 1982. The league began playing football in 1991.
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