NCAA BK

Irish eyeing early Big East exit?

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick has had "very preliminary conversations" with Big East officials about the Fighting Irish leaving the conference before the required 27-month notification period ends.

But Notre Dame isn't desperate to join the Atlantic Coast Conference ahead of schedule, he added.

Notre Dame announced last month it was joining the ACC in all sports except football and hockey. The Irish will remain a football independent, but play five games per season against ACC teams.

Big East bylaws require members give the league 27 months' notice before leaving. That would keep Notre Dame out of the ACC until 2015.

"We've begun very preliminary conversations with the Big East," Swarbrick told The Associated Press in a brief interview Friday night. "I continue to believe it's in the interest of both parties to find a way to facilitate an earlier movement of Notre Dame out of the conference.

"It's too early to tell whether we're going to be able to find a solution that works well for both parties, but I can assure you it will always be amicable. There won't be any fighting or any issues. We'll see if we can reach a common solution. If we can't we'll be happy to play out the remainder of our term in the Big East."

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Pittsburgh and Syracuse agreed to pay $7.5 million to the Big East so they would be able to leave for the ACC after waiting only one season. The Panthers and Orange will join the ACC in July 2013.

Swarbrick said Notre Dame would likely need to reach an agreement with the Big East by Jan. 1 for the Irish to be able to start competing in the ACC during the 2013-14 school year.

Tagged: Notre Dame

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