SMU President Gerald Turner shared groundbreaking news with the university community and the world. Starting July 1, 2024, SMU will officially join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The scene celebrating the university’s acceptance into the Atlantic Coast Conference on Friday was quite the contrast to previous somber days. It was 36 years ago when SMU received what is still the only so-called death penalty over NCAA recruiting violations.
Photo Cred: SMU
In his own words, President Turner said, “All of my years as President of SMU, I’ve never had as many emails, texts, and calls in one day as I’ve had today. And it’s been a joy because everybody I’ve talked to has been unbelievably happy.”
The ACC, known for its athletic prowess and strong academic institutions, was the desired destination for SMU. The university had been working diligently to position itself for this opportunity. David Miller, Chairman of SMU’s Board of Trustees, played a crucial role in this endeavor. He emphasized that this move is not only about athletic success but will also enhance SMU’s academic reputation nationally.
Photo Cred: CNN
“This transformational move will do much more than just enhance SMU athletically,” he said. “Being in the same fraternity and rubbing shoulders consistently with some of the absolute finest academic institutions in the country is going to reposition the way this university is perceived academically at a national level.”
The news has ignited excitement within the SMU community. The belief is it will eventually energize the city of Dallas around SMU athletics. SMU will forgo nine years of TV revenue for more exposure. Rick Hart (SMU’s Director of Athletics) praised the commitment of everyone involved, from donors who supported the construction of facilities to the resolute board members and university leadership.
Photo Cred: Dallas Morning News
“The incredible donor support we’ve had over the past decade and, more recently, the underwriting that’s come together in support of this initiative were differentiators for us and made a very large impression on the PAC 12 and the ACC.”
SMU is preparing for its final year in the American Athletic Conference. They will have to pay an early termination fee when they leave the AAC. The Mustangs have been undeniably struggling ever since the Southwest Conference ceased to exist in 1996. Additionally, it’s also been seven years after the shutdown of the SMU football program.