I go away for work for one day and Notre Dame decides to shake up the college sports world by announcing they will be joining the ACC for all sports other than football and hockey starting as early as 2014.
Before we get into any analysis or quotes from University officials, lets get the details out of the way. With this new agreement with the ACC, Notre Dame will leave the Big East and become a member of the ACC in all sports other than football, which will remain independent, and hockey, which the ACC does not have.
Additionally, Notre Dame has agreed to play 5 ACC opponents every year while playing each member school at least once every three years. In return for essentially having a mini conference schedule every year, Notre Dame will now become a part of the ACC Non-BCS Bowl package vastly improving Notre Dame’s bowl options on a yearly basis.
So, in summary, Notre Dame is essentially trading the Big East for the ACC while making a greater commitment to ACC football than they ever made to Big East football in exchange for access to the non-BCS ACC bowl tie-ins. Not a bad deal at the end of the day for the Irish.
Notre Dame had been a member of the Big East since 1995 for most sports – the main exceptions being football and hockey – but recent changes in the conference alignment have made the ACC a more attractive option. “We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us,” said Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. “This will enable us 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.”
Since Notre Dame joined the Big East for most sports in ’95, the conference has undergone a radical transformation. While the conference has lost almost every football powerhouse program over the years, it has grown as a super conference in college basketball. On the gridiron, though, the conference has lost the likes of Miami, Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Pitt over the last several years.
By maintaining football independence with this new agreement, Notre Dame is able to keep its current television deal with NBC for the network to exclusively broadcast all Notre Dame home games – a key component in making the deal. “This approach allows us to help promote ACC football while maintaining our traditional rivalries and a national schedule,” said Swarbrick.
Gaining access to the ACC lineup of bowl games is another major benefit of the new agreement. Notre Dame’s bowl options have been severely lacking over the last several years including this year when the Irish may have a tough time finding a compelling bowl game if they are unable to secure a BCS berth.
We’ll have a lot more over the next several days about what this new partnership means for football, recruiting, and other sports.