Notre Dame To Join ACC Minus Football, Hockey

September 12, 2012 / FootballHockey
New York Times, Greg Bishop

In the latest realignment news, Notre Dame joined the Atlantic Coast Conference on Wednesday, the league announced in a statement. As the 15th member of the conference, Notre Dame will compete in all conference sports except football and hockey.

The move will reunite the Fighting Irish with Pittsburgh and Syracuse, two other members of the Big East Conference who left for the A.C.C. Notre Dame has long retained its football independence, and will continue to do so under the new agreement, but it will also now play five games a year against A.C.C. programs.

“We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the A.C.C. is the best course of action for us,” Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s athletic director, said in a statement. “We are able to maintain our historic independence in football, join the A.C.C.’s non-B.C.S. bowl package and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports.”

The earliest Notre Dame could bolt from the Big East without an additional penalty is 2015. A full 27 months are currently required by the conference for teams to leave, although Pittsburgh and Syracuse paid a higher exit fee to leave earlier.

Notre Dame was a member of the Big East since 1995, with football and hockey also exceptions under that agreement.

The Irish’s football schedule features regular opponents like Southern California, Stanford, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Boston College and Navy. That is likely to change now that five games will be contested against A.C.C. competition. Miami, which has faced Notre Dame in numerous memorable games through the years, is already in the A.C.C.

The A.C.C. will now require teams that leave the conference to pay exit fees three times the annual operating budget, which would equate to $50 million, the conference said in its statement.

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