SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Big East has reached an agreement with Syracuse University, allowing the Orange to leave the league a year early for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Syracuse announced last year its intention to join the ACC, but under Big East bylaws the school needed to serve a 27-month exit period. Instead, the Orange will now be allowed to leave on July 1, 2013, and will have to pay a fee of $7.5 million to depart.

"This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for the Big East's future," interim commissioner Joe Bailey said. "With the recent addition of eight schools to the Big East, the future for the conference has never been brighter."

Pitt will also leave the Big East for the ACC, but its departure date remains uncertain. The university filed a lawsuit in May against the Big East in a Pennsylvania court in an attempt to expedite its exit from the conference and join the ACC for the 2013-14 academic year. That case is still pending.

Last September, Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they were leaving the Big East to join the ACC, and the Big East initially announced it would hold both schools to their league membership through the 2014-15 season.

"We look forward to the new academic and athletic partnerships and the extraordinary competitive opportunities that membership in the ACC offers," Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross said. "We are excited about both our final season in the Big East and our long-term future with the ACC."

When Pitt gets its release from the Big East, the ACC will go to a nine-game conference schedule in football. ACC Commissioner John Swofford said all 14 schools would play in both the men's and women's conference basketball tournaments.

"The ACC looks forward to the arrival of Syracuse as a playing member on July 1, 2013," Swofford said. "Syracuse will be an outstanding addition to the ACC. We've been preparing to welcome them into our membership and I'm pleased that Syracuse and the Big East were able to come to an agreement.

"As a league, we continue to be excited about our future."