Syracuse is free to pursue its dream of being a member of the ACC in 2013

Syracuse and the Big East have finalized their divorce.

The two parties released a joint statement Monday stating that Syracuse will leave the conference and officially be a member of the ACC for 2013.

"This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for the Big East's future," Joe Bailey, Big East Interim Commissioner, said. "With the recent addition of eight schools to the Big East, the future for the Conference has never been brighter."

Syracuse will pay the Big East $7.5 million to leave the conference, which is $12.5 million less than West Virginia paid to leave and join the Big 12, and $2.5 million more than the Big East is seeking from TCU for breaking its contract.

Originally, the Big East was going to force Syracuse — and Pitt — stay in the conference until 2014, which is mandated by the conference's bylaws. However, with the addition of eight new schools in 2013, the Big East had no reason to keep Syracuse in the league any longer than it had to.

Now, all eyes are on Pitt. The Panthers are already suing the Big East so it can follow Syracuse to the ACC in 2013, but it also doesn't want to pay more than $5 million for its buyout, which was paid on Sept. 26, 2011.

If Pitt is forced to stick around through 2013 — a move no one thinks will actually happen — the Big East would have an uneven amount of teams and scheduling headache.

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