By Martin Rickman
November 13, 2013

Louisville CardinalsPreview Louisville and the AAC have reportedly settled on an $11 million exit fee. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

It was never really in doubt, but logistical hang-ups were keeping Louisville from officially exiting the American Athletic Conference and joining the ACC. Up until a few days ago, it was a foregone conclusion that the Cardinals would join the ACC in July of 2014, but recent reports mentioned that the exit fee hadn't yet been worked out, and that Maryland's inability to reach an agreement with the ACC in its move to the Big Ten was causing some delay. (You can't really have the buyer and seller living in a house at the same time, I guess.)

On Wednesday, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich and AAC commissioner Mike Aresco met and settled on an exit fee of $11 million, according to ESPN's Brett McMurphy. This allows the ACC to officially bring the Cardinals into the fold on July 1, 2014, and because of Jurich's "willingness to to work with the league to keep the dispute out of the courts," the fee was reduced from the $15 million the conference originally was seeking, according to McMurphy.

This was a critical domino in the conference realignment game, although the Maryland and Rutgers moves are still being ironed out. If anything, it serves as a good precedent that Aresco was able to work things out with Jurich face-to-face, essentially providing a blueprint for Rutgers to make its way to the Big Ten. As for Maryland, well, maybe we can put Franklin & Bash on the case.

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