SMU joins the ACC July 1

The University will celebrate membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference with mascots, bright lights and a big party open to everyone.


DALLAS (SMU) – SMU will celebrate in a big way on Monday, July 1, as the University becomes an official member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. All 18 costumed mascots from ACC member teams will join the revelry, punctuated by a big public party from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at The Happiest Hour, 2616 Olive St. in the Harwood District, followed by the lighting up of the downtown Dallas skyline in SMU colors at 7:30 p.m.

Check in here for all the details.

“This is a new era for the Mustangs,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.  “We’re excited to bring elite-level ACC athletic competition to our friends and neighbors and also look forward to pursuing shared academic opportunities with other ACC-member universities. Because of the prestige that comes with ACC membership, this is an opportunity to advance the recognition of our University on levels that extend far beyond the playing field.”

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson calls it a proud moment for the entire city.

“It signifies not only a triumph for SMU, but also a pivotal moment that will elevate our community and enrich our sports culture,” Johnson said. “To the ACC community, I send a warm welcome to Dallas. Your presence in our city brings a vibrant energy and spirit of comradery that unites us all. So to SMU, and the ACC, I look forward to the thrilling seasons ahead. Pony up!”

All of the ACC costumed mascots – from the Duke Blue Devil to Louie the Cardinal – will visit Dallas landmarks throughout the day for photo ops with SMU’s beloved mascot, Peruna. Watch for the mascots on SMU social media, as well as at the Dallas Arboretum, Fair Park, Reunion Tower and other spots around town. They’ll join the party at the Happiest Hour, where the ACC Network will be broadcasting live.   

Alumni, friends and fans are encouraged to wear their favorite red and blue and join the party at The Happiest Hour. Please register here. SMU President R. Gerald Turner, SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart, Head Football Coach Rhett Lashlee, Head Women’s Basketball Coach Toyelle Wilson and Head Volleyball Coach Sam Erger will be available for media interviews.

SMU is riding a surge of momentum into the ACC, having won a school record of eight championships during the 2023-24 season. Watch SMU Athletics’ social media channels on and around July 1 for highlights from these and other historical milestones.

“I was an athlete on the Hilltop in the 1980s, and let me tell you, we’ve come a long way since then,” said Clark Hunt, chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs and an SMU trustee. “Now, we’re joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, and that means highly ranked opponents, national TV games and a whole new energy on campus.  Congratulations on joining the ACC. I hope to see you at a game this fall, cheering on the Mustangs – Pony up!”

SMU’s first home ACC event will be a men’s soccer match on Sept. 7, when the Mustangs host Pitt at Washburne Stadium. The Mustangs’ first ACC football game comes on Saturday, Sept. 28, when the Florida State Seminoles visit Ford Stadium. Tickets for SMU/ACC events are available here.