Southern Methodist University (SMU) has made history by accepting an invitation to join the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in all sports, effective July 1, 2024. SMU President R. Gerald Turner expressed excitement and gratitude for the opportunity and explained that the move was an important milestone for the institution's athletic program. SMU will join the conference alongside the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, after being formally admitted by the ACC Board of Directors. The addition of these three universities strengthens the ACC in all aspects, including academically, athletically, and financially.
SMU has a long and storied history of program-wide success, boasting 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. SMU is the only NCAA FBS program in Dallas and has invested over $250 million in developing and enhancing championship-caliber facilities since 2013. The move to the ACC will positively impact all aspects of the collegiate experience on the Hilltop and raise SMU's profile on a national level.
The ACC, now in its 71st year of competition and 15 members strong, is one of the strongest intercollegiate conferences in the nation. ACC members Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest continue to build upon the cornerstones on which the league was founded in 1953. The conference currently sponsors 28 NCAA sports, 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. The ACC leads all Autonomy 5 conferences with 15 women's sports offerings, and no conference offers more than the league's 28 total sponsored sports.
President Turner acknowledged and thanked Mike Aresco for his leadership of the American Athletic Conference, which helped build a great brand and conference that propelled SMU Athletics forward. SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart expressed gratitude to President Turner and the Board of Trustees for their vision, commitment, action, and leadership in building championship-caliber facilities and providing a student-athlete experience that rivals the best in the country. He also thanked David Miller, SMU Board Chair, for his support, guidance, and commitment to this journey.
In conclusion, SMU's acceptance into the ACC is a significant milestone that will positively impact the institution's athletic program and academic community. The move will increase the competitiveness of all sports and further demonstrate the ACC's commitment to broad-based programs for both women and men. The ACC's expansion with the addition of Cal, SMU, and Stanford will enhance and strengthen the league now and in the future. The ACC Board of Directors made a deliberate effort to prioritize the best possible athletic and academic experience for student-athletes and ensure that the three universities would strengthen the league in all possible ways. SMU is excited to bring ACC Championships home to Dallas and will continue to invest in infrastructure, programs, and people to maintain excellence in everything they do.