SMU Joining ACC

SMU accepted an invitation to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports, university president R. Gerald Turner announced Sept. 1. 

“Joining the Atlantic Coast Conference is an historic milestone in our institution’s history and the start of a new chapter in SMU Athletics,” Turner said.

SMU will join alongside the University of California, Berkeley (Cal) and Stanford University after the ACC Board of Directors voted to formally admit the three schools. The trio will join the ACC as full members with full voting participation effective July 1, 2024 (SMU) and Aug. 2, 2024 (Stanford and Cal).

“From early on in my tenure here on the Hilltop, we had a vision to reestablish SMU Athletics as a nationally recognized and relevant program, one to complement our outstanding academic reputation,” Turner said. “We set out to return SMU Football to campus and to build Ford Stadium, and later to increase operating support with the Circle of Champions and the Vision 2025 Fund – things we could not have done without the support of our Board of Trustees and the financial support of so many generous donors. It is truly an exciting time on the Hilltop.”

SMU boasts nine overall national championships, almost 200 team conference championships, over 100 individual national championships, more than 150 NCAA top-10 finishes, nearly 2,000 All-American honors, and over 150 Olympic appearances. Over just the past decade, all of SMU’s 17 programs have reached the postseason, and 15 different programs have won conference championships. SMU is the only NCAA FBS program in Dallas and, since 2013, has invested over $250 million to develop and enhance facilities.

“This is such an important day for SMU. Becoming a member of the ACC will positively impact all aspects of the collegiate experience on the Hilltop and will raise SMU’s profile on a national level,” said SMU Board Chair David B. Miller ’72, ’73. “SMU is committed to excellence in everything we do, and this move will strengthen that commitment. I want to thank everyone who has helped position SMU for this important moment because a moment like this doesn’t just happen. It is the culmination of the collective investments made by many over a long period of time – investments in infrastructure, in programs, and in people. We made these investments because while doing so did not guarantee an outcome, not doing so almost certainly would. Now, we are thrilled to have this opportunity and are excited for our future. SMU is ready to bring ACC Championships home to Dallas.”

The Atlantic Coast Conference is in its 71st year of competition and has 15 members, including Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. The ACC currently sponsors 28 NCAA sports – 15 for women and 13 for men – with member institutions located in 10 states. ACC schools have captured 173 NCAA team championships, including 87 in women’s competition, 82 in men’s sports, and four in fencing. In addition, NCAA individual titles have gone to ACC student-athletes 196 times in men’s competition and 181 times in women’s action. The ACC leads all Autonomy 5 conferences with 15 women’s sports offerings.

“As we move forward, though, I want to thank Mike Aresco for his leadership of the American Athletic Conference,” Turner said. “He, the conference staff, and the league’s institutions have helped build a great brand and conference that also helped propel SMU Athletics forward.”

“Arriving at this point required vision, commitment, action, and leadership,” said SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “For nearly three decades, president Turner and our Board of Trustees have provided just that. Under their direction and through the generosity of our alumni and donors, SMU built Gerald J. Ford Stadium, the Loyd All-Sports Center, the Miller Event Center, Armstrong Fieldhouse, the Crum Basketball Center, the Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex, the Payne Stewart Golf Training Center, Washburne Stadium, the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium and the Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool and completely renovated Moody Coliseum.”

“We can also never repay our Board Chair and basketball letterwinner David Miller for his support, guidance and commitment to this journey,” Hart added. “The Miller name adorns many of SMU’s best-in-class facilities because of his family’s long-standing and ongoing financial support of both academic and athletic progress, but many may not realize the countless hours of travel, meetings, phone calls and other work he performed to get us across this finish line.

“I can confidently say that without the decades-long vision, commitment, action and leadership by so many loyal Mustangs, we would not have been positioned to seize this opportunity and we would not be here celebrating membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference today.”

More than 2,200 student-athletes from Cal, SMU, and Stanford will join the nearly 10,000 current ACC student-athletes.

“In addition to its influence on our Athletics programs, being formally associated with the outstanding academic institutions in the ACC will also be beneficial to the academic community of SMU,” Turner said.

“This is a significant day for the ACC as we welcome Cal, SMU and Stanford to this incredible conference,” said University of Virginia president James E. Ryan, chair of the ACC Board of Directors. “This expansion will enhance and strengthen the league now and in the future. We greatly appreciate the tireless efforts of Commissioner Jim Phillips throughout this entire process, especially his focus on minimizing travel burdens for student-athletes, and we are excited about the ACC’s collective future.”

“We are thrilled to welcome three world-class institutions to the ACC, and we look forward to having them compete as part of our amazing league,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “Throughout the evaluation process, the ACC Board of Directors, led by President Ryan, was deliberate in prioritizing the best possible athletic and academic experience for our student-athletes and in ensuring that the three universities would strengthen the league in all possible ways. Cal, SMU, and Stanford will be terrific members of the ACC, and we are proud to welcome their student-athletes, coaches, staff, and entire campus community, alumni, and fans.”

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