Notre Dame to become ACC's 15th member
SEP 12, 2012 10:08a ET
Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference as a full member for every sport except for football as soon as it leaves the Big East Conference. The Fighting Irish will remain independent in football, but will play five games annually against ACC opponents, facing each ACC member at least once every three years. The Irish will also have access to the ACC's non-BCS bowl tie-ins, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement.
The ACC's Council of Presidents unanimously accepted the Fighting Irish as the league's 15th member.
"We are committed to keeping the Atlantic Coast Conference a vibrant and competitive league dedicated to ensuring the appropriate balance of academics, athletics and integrity," the ACC Council of Presidents said in a joint statement Wednesday. "The addition of Notre Dame further strengthens the rich tradition and culture of the ACC as well as allowing for future academic collaboration and we enthusiastically welcome them into the league."
The timing of the impending realignment remains unclear. To exit the Big East, Notre Dame is required to give new conference commissioner Mike Aresco prior notice of 27 months and a $5 million exit fee, although ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy, who first broke the story, reports the school could negotiate an earlier exit.
Notre Dame President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, noted the academic and athletic similarities for his school and the conference.
"The ACC is composed of some of the most highly respected universities in the country, and we at Notre Dame look forward to joining them," Jenkins said in a press release.
In addition to Notre Dame's entrance, conference commissioners voted to raise the ACC's exit fees to $50 million.
This is the sixth Big East institution that has defected to the ACC since 2003. Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College joined the league in the first wave of ACC expansion last decade beginning with the 2004-2005 academic year. This past year, Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they would join the conference beginning in 2013.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh each negotiated early exits for a $7.5 million fee.
The Irish already have four future ACC opponents — Boston College, Miami, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest — on their schedule this fall. Terms of the ACC's new TV deal with ESPN -- a 15-year deal worth $3.6 billion -- could also change due to the expansion. The deal was announced in May following the defections of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
Notre Dame announced the move will not affect the school's lucrative TV deal with NBC.
"Today is a great day for the University of Notre Dame and our athletics department, including the football program," said coach Brian Kelly. "Speaking strictly from a football standpoint, we have further solidified our future as an independent in college football, maintained our unique ability to schedule nationally and greatly improved our postseason bowl game options. I applaud Father Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick for this move. They have set our entire athletics department up for great success in the future."
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said the institution, as was long rumored, had monitored the landscape of conference expansion for a long time. He said the Atlantic Coast Conference was the best fit.
"We are able to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACC's non-BCS bowl package, and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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