HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut found itself left behind in the conference realignment shuffle again Wednesday as Louisville was picked over the Huskies to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, becoming the fifth football member to leave the Big East in just over a year.
UConn had been courting the ACC and was thought to be a leading candidate to replace Maryland after the Terrapins accepted an invitation earlier this month to join the Big 10.
"I know this may seem like a tough moment for our fans, but we need to focus on the fundamentals of academic success across the university and in our athletic program as well," UConn president Susan Herbst said. "We are winners. We win, we like to win and we will continue to play the best possible opponents. We will be athletically successful, regardless of our conference, because of our successes in NCAA competition."
The Huskies have a resume they thought would be attractive to the ACC. UConn has won 10 NCAA basketball championships since 1995 (seven women's titles and three men's), and has a football program that has been to five bowls in its first decade as an FBS program.
It's also a top-20 research university in a top-40 television market, and has a television contract with New York cable network SNY.
"Husky Nation is strong all over the country and the world," athletic director Warde Manuel said. "UConn has one of the most captive audiences of any school in the country and we have strong penetration in several of the nation's largest television markets."
But Louisville was thought to be a better fit for ACC football, with a larger stadium and longer history as a major college football program.
The loss of Louisville and Rutgers follows last year's departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC, and West Virginia to the Big 12. Notre Dame, which had been a Big East member in everything but football, has also announced it will take those teams to the ACC.
On Tuesday, the Big East countered by adding Tulane for all sports and East Carolina for football only beginning in 2014.