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November 28, 2012

Bense: FSU 'thrilled' to have Louisville in ACC

The newest member of the Atlantic Coast Conference is expected to bring some much-needed football punch.

That's music to the ears of the leadership at Florida State.

The ACC Council of President unanimously approved the University of Louisville as the 14th member of the ACC on Wednesday morning. The move was made because Maryland, a charter member of the ACC, notified the league earlier this month that it would be leaving for the Big 10 in 2014.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said that Louisville will take the place of Maryland in the ACC Atlantic Division, joining FSU, Boston College, Clemson, N.C. State, Syracuse and Wake Forest.

The addition of Louisville was applauded by FSU Board of Trustees Chairman Allan Bense.

"I think Louisville is a good addition to the ACC, I think they have clearly proven that they're a good football team, a good university, they've been around for a long time," Bense told Warchant.com. "I think they will be a nice addition to the ACC and I clearly support them being a part of the ACC. I'm thrilled."

Bense said that a potential addition to the league had been a topic of conversation between himself and FSU president Eric Barron within the past week. According to Bense, among the top priorities in the school's input with the ACC was to consider a strong football program. He thought that other schools in consideration could be to "one dimensional" for the conference.

"Not just FSU's perspective but the ACC's perspective, I think it was prudent to add someone with football prowess because as we've seen with the things going on with the Big 10 and others, they're looking for football markets and what not and football does tend to drive a lot of these conferences," Bense said. "I think Louisville is a good link-up with the ACC and Florida State."

The two previous additions to the ACC, Pitt and Syracuse, were criticized as a decision to bolster basketball with no attention paid to the quality of football in the conference. Pitt and Syracuse begin play in the ACC next season.

During an ACC conference call on Wednesday, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp, the chairman of the ACC Council of Presidents, said the move to get Louisville was based around athletics.

"What the ACC needed the most was to add the most exciting athletic program it could," Thorp said. "The logic was that we wanted to make the ACC the most exciting sports league it could be."

It has been a rapid ascension for Louisville's athletic program; it joined Conference USA in 1996 and the Big East in 2005. The Cardinal have posted winning records in each of the past three seasons under head coach Charlie Strong and are currently 9-2. Louisville takes on Rutgers on Saturday for the right to earn a BCS bowl berth.

"With its aggressive approach to excellence in every respect, the University of Louisville will enhance our league's culture and commitment to the cornerstones we were founded on 60 years ago," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "The University of Louisville is an outstanding addition to the Atlantic Coast Conference and I commend the Council of Presidents for continuing to position our league for the long-term future. If you look at what has been done over the last 15 months, the ACC has only gotten stronger with the additions of Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse."

But with the football ramping up, Bense believes that's a good sign for FSU and the rest of the league.

"I think Louisville is a good football school, I think they're a good university, I look forward to beating them," Bense joked.



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