LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The University of Louisville became an official member of a new athletic conference Tuesday.
We've all heard that one before, but this time it's different. This time, it's the Atlantic Coast Conference.
This time, it's not a basketball-only league.
This time, it's football games against Florida State, Clemson and Miami, not to mention winter hoops contests along Tobacco Road against powerhouses like Duke and North Carolina.
It's Louisville's eighth conference affiliation in its approximately 90-year athletic history, including the fourth change in just the last two decades.
UofL Athletic Director Tom Jurich spoke proudly at a news conference on the campus Tuesday morning.
"It's a phenomenal day," said Jurich, who took the role in 1997, when the athletic budget was $14.9 million. Today? $86 million.
Jurich endured a stressful couple of weeks in November 2012, when he wasn't sure if his program had a seat at the big-boy table once Maryland announced it was leaving the ACC for the Big Ten. The Cardinals eventually got the invitation, and he's spent the last 18 months preparing for the school's biggest athletic move yet.
"It didn't sink in for me until this morning at 5 a.m., when I turned on the news," he said.
Longtime ACC Commissioner John Swofford also spoke excitedly about the Cardinals.
"It was pretty evident that Louisville would be a tremendous addition," he said.
University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey, ever charismatic, told the crowd it was a great time to be Louisville Cardinal, but emphasized this wasn't only an athletic move. He said the school's academic profile will benefit as well.
"This is the academic neighborhood that we want to be associated with," he said.
Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.