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Pitt, Big East agree to buyout; Panthers will join ACC in 2013



The University of Pittsburgh will dish out $7.5 million to join the Atlantic Coast Conference officially in 2013.

The $7.5 million is the entire exit fee the Pitt Panthers must pay the Big East Conference. The Panthers paid a portion of that fee when they informed the Big East of their decision to leave the conference.

"You can almost look at the television contract alone and know that literally in a very short period of time probably within the first year we will be able to make up the difference." Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson said.

In the Big East, Pitt is reportedly taking in $3 million a year under its current television deal. The ACC deal with ESPN dwarfs that. It's a 15-year deal that is worth a reported $3.6 billion, that's $240 million annually to the ACC, and $17.1 million a year goes to each member school.

Down the road, more money may be on the table for the ACC-bound Panthers when college football begins its four-team playoff system.

"The championship games in all conferences are going to be huge." Pederson said. "Then you are going to head to the semifinals or in our case if the champion is not in the semifinals they'll be going to the Orange Bowl."

The Panthers will begin play in the ACC in 2013.