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Jim Delany issues statement on Irish/ACC venture

Jim Delany AP

At least twice in the past two decades or so, Notre Dame has rebuffed Big Ten overtures to shed its football independence and become a full-fledged conference member in all sports.

With the announcement today that the Irish will be moving, with the exception of hockey, its Olympic sports to the ACC from the Big East as well as playing five football games annually against conference members, it appears any shot the Big Ten had of landing its prized piece of the football expansion puzzle has taken a significant if not fatal blow.

In a statement released shortly after the announcement was made, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany wasn’t the least bit shocked by the development… and hinted that the agreement between the Irish and the ACC is yet another sign that expansion in other conferences could still be in the offing.

“Today’s announcement by the ACC that Notre Dame will join the conference to compete in all sponsored sports with the exception of football was not a surprise. Both the Big 12 and the ACC have openly expressed an interest in adding Notre Dame to their conference under such a condition. 

“The announcement by the ACC is further indication that the tectonic plates underlying conference affiliation are still warm. As always, we will continue to monitor the landscape. 

“We are very pleased with both our current conference membership and our conference structure.”

As noted by Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg, Notre Dame had also sought from Delany’s conference the same arrangement it reached with the ACC, although the Big Ten wanted all Irish sports — including football — or nothing.

Notre Dame already has an ACC-esque scheduling relationship with three Big Ten football schools — Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue —  as well as annual matchups with USC and Navy.

Add in future series against the likes of Texas (2015-16, 2019-20), BYU (five-game series, dates to be determined), Stanford (2016-19) and Miami (2016-17) among others, it’s unclear how the Irish will juggle future slates with a five-game ACC schedule in the offing beginning in 2015 at the latest.

Take 2016, for instance.  Already, the Irish have 11 games scheduled — all of the above-mentioned teams minus BYU, plus current ACC member Boston College and future ACC members Pittsburgh and Syracuse.  Add in the five games with the ACC — two/three/four if BC/Pitt/’Cuse are part of that year’s ACC-Irish rotation — and, well, some series will be facing the scheduling guillotine.

Which ones?  Michigan and Michigan State seem safe, especially the former.  Given the recruiting presence it gives the football program on the West Coast as well as being one of the most storied rivalries in the sport, the game vs. USC appears to be an untouchable.  Willingly giving up the Navy rivalry would be something the Irish would be loath to do as well.

Everything else, though, would appear ripe for pruning.  Which ones remain to be seen.

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12 Responses to “Jim Delany issues statement on Irish/ACC venture”
  1. deadeye says: Sep 12, 2012 4:21 PM

    “The announcement by the ACC is further indication that the tectonic plates underlying conference affiliation are still warm.”

    In other words, conference realignment is incomplete and is still unfolding. I’m curious what Mr. Delaney specifically has in mind.

  2. frug says: Sep 12, 2012 6:20 PM

    Michigan and Michigan State seem safe, especially the former.

    Actually of ND’s annual rivalries (UM, MSU, Purdue, Navy, USC and Stanford) those are by far the most likely to be dumped. (Stanford has the least history and interest for fans but Notre Dame needs to rotate somebody with USC in order to maintain an annual presence in California).

    Both of those series are already ending as annual games anyways and Michigan has only been played since the ’70s anyways.

    The most likely outcome is that ND begins rotating UM and MSU in opposite years, or the Michigan series gets dumped all together (something Michigan’s AD probably wouldn’t mind given that he wants to collect home games but still play different parts of the country like Utah or Alabama in Dallas)

  3. Legion Of Boom says: Sep 12, 2012 6:33 PM

    Who needs UTx North anyway? Just the conferences willing to sell their souls for relevance.

  4. 8man says: Sep 12, 2012 6:54 PM

    I agree with Delany. All in or out. Congrats to ND and the ACC for working something out and good for the Big Ten to stand behind what they wanted.

  5. drummerhoff says: Sep 12, 2012 7:57 PM

    Delany statement is an invitation to ACC members to contact the B1G about membership.

  6. takingbovadasmoney says: Sep 12, 2012 9:12 PM

    @frug When did Dallas become part of Ann Arbor?

  7. frug says: Sep 12, 2012 9:36 PM


    Never said it was.

    I said the AD wants to play a lot of home games while still playing teams from around the country. That means the Wolverines need maximum scheduling flexibility and dropping the series with ND would ensure that.

  8. pastabelly says: Sep 12, 2012 10:19 PM

    Boston College should get on the permanent schedule.

  9. rsmeans says: Sep 13, 2012 4:57 AM

    Let’s be serious. Delaney is losing his ability to negotiate. All of his moves in the last few years have been detrimental to the Big Ten. The Big Ten has a great fan base so the income that Delaney claims he secured is one that anyone could secure. Time for a replacement of the Big Ten commissioner or the Big 10 can wave the white flag.
    Love Big Ten football and Teams and hope they survive but without Delaney.

  10. maddogterry says: Sep 13, 2012 1:45 PM

    Notre Dame is not stupid!! They know that if they joined the Big10, they would never get to go to a bowl game.

  11. beedubyatoo says: Sep 13, 2012 2:27 PM

    maddogterry says:Sep 13, 2012 1:45 PM

    Notre Dame is not stupid!! They know that if they joined the Big10, they would never get to go to a bowl game.
    Every time I think I’ve seen the dumbest post ever, someone like you comes along to prove me wrong.

  12. pastabelly says: Sep 13, 2012 2:47 PM

    Notre Dame isn’t stupid at all. They get the best of both worlds. In reality, their original Big East relationships are all in the ACC now anyway. Now, they get back with Miami, BC, VT, Pitt, and Syracuse and get the bonus of the original ACC schools. Being in the watered down newly constituted Big East was never an option to Notre Dame and the Big 12 is a just a bad fit for many other reasons. It the Big 10 had offereed them the same deal the ACC did, they still might have gone to the ACC because they refuse to be identified as a Midwestern school. The ACC always made sense.

    Not for one second should anyone believe that ND is remaining independent in football out of loyalty to rivlaries with Michigan , Michigan State, and Purdue. They are remaining independent to keep proceeds from their NBC deal. They are loyal to the dollar. John Swofford is no fool either. He knows exactly where ND is coming from.

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