From Comcast SportsNetAtlantic Coast Conference leaders got the school they wanted. Louisville was relieved to find a home amid the latest wave of realignment.The ACC announced Wednesday that its presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to add Louisville as the replacement for Maryland, which will join the Big Ten in 2014.Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was concerned the Cardinals would be left behind in a constantly shifting landscape."You always worry about that, there's no question about it -- especially when you're sitting in our chairs," Jurich said in a teleconference. "But I think when you look at what we've done and the body of work, I think it was very well worth it to wait because we were able to get what we wanted."We feel it's the best fit for this university."Louisville was a candidate to join the Big 12 last year before that league took West Virginia, though Maryland's unexpected announcement last week created a new opportunity for both the school and the ACC.But it wasn't a lock for the Cardinals.A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that ACC leaders also considered Connecticut and Cincinnati over the past week before the vote to add Louisville during a conference call Wednesday morning. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the ACC hasn't released details of the expansion discussionsThe Cardinals will bring a tradition-rich men's basketball program, a solid football program and a college-focused market to the ACC."When you look at Louisville, you see a university and an athletic program that has all the arrows pointed up -- a tremendous uptick there, tremendous energy," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said. "It's always an overall fit in every respect and I think that's what we found."Louisville is the fourth school in 15 months and seventh in the past decade to leave the Big East for the ACC. Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced their move in September 2011 and will join the league next year, while Notre Dame said two months ago that it would eventually join in all conference sports except football.Most of Notre Dame's non-football sports have competed in the Big East since 1995."We had incredible success in that conference," Jurich said of the Big East. "But when it began to deteriorate, we felt that all our options were pulled away from us and we had to look and we were forced to look."To see a lot of your peers moving around you and leaving nobody to schedule, it was very, very difficult for us to see and a very once-proud conference I think was in a very difficult position."Politicians around Kentucky cheered the move.Louisville mayor Greg Fischer issued a statement calling the ACC's decision "a fantastic development for the university, the city and the state." U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement the move was a credit to Jurich's leadership of the athletic department.It's unclear exactly when Louisville will join the ACC. Swofford said that would have to be worked out between the school and the Big East. He also said the league is comfortable staying at 14 full members with the addition of Louisville.The Big East has a 27-month notification period for any member that wants to leave. The Big East has shown a willingness to negotiate, as it did with Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who paid 7.5 million each to get out early when the exit fee was 5 million.The Big East has since increased that fee to 10 million.This latest rapid-fire round of realignment was set off last week by the Big Ten's additions of Maryland and Rutgers, which will join that conference in 2014.On Tuesday, the Big East added Tulane for all sports and East Carolina for football only, also beginning in 2014.In a statement, Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco wished Louisville well and said the league's additions are important for its future."We are committed to a vibrant and dynamic future for the Big East Conference," Aresco said.Louisville's addition will add some extra juice to what's already one of the nation's premier conferences for men's basketball.Louisville, currently ranked No. 5, brings a program that has won two national championships and reached its ninth Final Four last season. In addition, Rick Pitino will give the league another marquee coaching name alongside Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina's Roy Williams and soon Jim Boeheim of Syracuse.The school's football program is a win away from earning a BCS berth. Charlie Strong's Cardinals travel to Rutgers on Thursday night for a game in which they could clinch the Big East's BCS bid.The ACC's decision to add Louisville is a blow for Connecticut, which had been looking for a landing spot since Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced their Big East exits. UConn President Susan Herbst had indicated that an invitation to join that ACC is something the school would welcome."We will be athletically successful, regardless of our conference, because of our successes in NCAA competition," Herbst said in a statement. "... I realize this is a difficult day, but when we focus on research, discovery, and student success, we'll never go wrong."
00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.
05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.
10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati.
16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — President Donald Trump says National Football League owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. And he’s encouraging spectators to walk out in protest.
In an extended riff during a freewheeling rally speech in Alabama Friday night, Trump also bemoaned that football games have become less violent.
“They’re ruining the game,” he complained.
Several athletes, including NFL players, have refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest of the treatment of blacks by police.
Trump says those players are disrespecting the flag and deserve to lose their jobs.
“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” he said, encouraging owners to act.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump said to loud applause.
Trump also predicted that any owner who went through with his encouragement would become “the most popular person in this country” — at least for a week.
Trump, who was in Alabama campaigning for Sen. Luther Strange, also blamed a decline in NFL ratings on the nation’s interest in “yours truly” as well as what he described as a decline in violence in the game.
He said players are being thrown out for aggressive tackles, and it’s “not the same game.”
The NFL has made several efforts to reduce violence in the sport, particularly hits that may cause damage to the head. A July report on 202 former football players found evidence of a debilitating brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them. The league has agreed to pay $1 billion to retired players who claimed it misled them about the concussion dangers of playing football.
During his campaign, Trump often expressed nostalgia for the “old days” — claiming, for example, that protesters at his rallies would have been carried out on stretchers back then. He recently suggested police officers should be rougher with criminals and shouldn’t protect their heads when pushing them into quad cars.
It’s also not the first time he’s raised the kneeling issue. Earlier this year he took credit for the fact that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the trend of kneeling during the anthem, hadn’t been signed by an NFL team.
Trump said the protest was the top reason NFL viewership had waned this season.
“You know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem,” he said.
Trump encouraged his supporters to pick up and leave the stadium next time they spot a player failing to stand.
“I guarantee things will stop,” he said.