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Updated: Notre Dame to schedule ACC football opponents as partial member

Purdue v Notre Dame Getty Images

Looks like Notre Dame does have options, after all.

Following up on something that’s been churning through the Rumor Mill since, well, a while back, Notre Dame will officially move from the Big East and join the ACC as a new member.

Except for football, in which it will remain independent.

The ACC announced the news today in a release which states that the Irish, as a partner, will play five games annually against league programs. According Eric Hanson of the South Bend Tribune, each ACC member is guaranteed to play Notre Dame in football once every three years.

IrishIllustrated first broke the news that Notre Dame was joining the ACC as a partial member.

“The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “Our partnership with Notre Dame only strengthens this long-standing commitment. Notre Dame enhances the league’s unique blend of public and private institutions that are international in scope. The collective alumni and fan bases cover the entire country with exceptionally strong roots up and down the Atlantic Coast. This is a terrific milestone in the evolution of the ACC and showcases tremendous solidarity and vision by our Council of Presidents.”

The timeline of Notre Dame’s entrance to the ACC has not been determined. Big East bylaws state a program must wait 27 months between announcing a departure and actually leaving. However, Pitt, Syracuse, TCU and West Virginia have all left or will leave the Big East before that waiting period.

To drive the knife even further, all of this is happening while the Big East is in its exclusive negotiating window with ESPN on a new TV deal.

And even though the addition of Notre Dame as a partial member is, ya know, a pretty big deal — Swofford noted previously that he was open to having the Irish as a partial member — there was another nugget of information at the bottom of the press release that was more pertinent to football:

“In addition to extending an invitation to Notre Dame, the Council of Presidents voted to increase the conference exit fees to three times the annual operating budget. Currently this would equate to an exit fee of over $50 million.”

The rumors of Clemson, Florida State and/or Miami to the Big 12? If this doesn’t finally kill it, I don’t know what does.

Notre Dame’s new membership with the ACC comes after long-standing rumors that the Irish would join or partner with the league in some capacity. Notre Dame confirmed in July that it was having discussions with the ACC about an Orange Bowl partnership.

Notre Dame was also connected to the Big 12 as a partial member.

The ACC recently inked a new exclusive TV deal with ESPN that works out to roughly $17 million annually for its members. How this deal is adapted to accommodate Notre Dame’s non-football sports is yet to be seen.

For more on what Notre Dame’s move to the ACC means, check out CollegeBasketballTalk.

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40 Responses to “Updated: Notre Dame to schedule ACC football opponents as partial member”
  1. deadeye says: Sep 12, 2012 10:18 AM

    This does NOT save the ACC. The revenue bump is not large enough to retain FSU. The next shoe to drop will be the Seminoles leaving for the BIG12.

    Still, compliments to Swofford for pulling this off.

  2. normtide says: Sep 12, 2012 10:23 AM

    So what does this do to their other rivals? Will they be dropping a few? Have to say not a bad move for the Irish. Their program really is not strong enough to compete in the big 12.

  3. wethog66 says: Sep 12, 2012 10:24 AM

    The Big East needs saving, not sure the ACC does. If FSU wants to fork over 50 million to leave for the Big 12 I say don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Take Miami with you.

    There is only one SEC. The ACC needs to stop trying to be the SEC and just be itself. Great basketball and good football conference.

  4. wethog66 says: Sep 12, 2012 10:30 AM


    Info on says ND wants to keep a west coast presence so USC and Standford games will remain along with Navy. So with 5 ACC games that makes 8 slots on their schedule spoken for. Who is left of their annual opponents? Michigan, Michigan St., Purdue?

  5. charles130 says: Sep 12, 2012 10:34 AM

    I’m glad Deadeye is not my accountant.

    What’s the payback on a $50 million exit fee for an extra $2 million and change per year from the Big 12?

  6. normtide says: Sep 12, 2012 10:36 AM

    Ty wethog, I thought they would want to keep USC for recruiting Cali. Dropping the b1g teams makes sense, since joining them looks to be off the books. This is a coup for the ACC, can not deny that. My belief is that ND will have to fully join a league at some point, due to the playoff system.

  7. deadeye says: Sep 12, 2012 10:40 AM


    I don’t think you realize all the factors going into this news. First, this was done specifically to keep FSU, VT, and Clemson in the conference. Those schools (especially FSU) were exploring the possibility of leaving. Second, the fifty million is negotiable.

    Don’t get sucked into thinking that this prevents FSU from leaving if they really want to do so. Does it make it harder? Of course, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  8. charles130 says: Sep 12, 2012 10:43 AM

    I’m glad you are not my attorney, either.

  9. Ben Kercheval says: Sep 12, 2012 10:44 AM

    “I don’t think you realize all the factors going into this news.”

    I don’t think you do, either.

  10. deadeye says: Sep 12, 2012 10:48 AM

    “I don’t think you do, either.”

    Ben, do all of us a favor and actually report all the factors if your aware of them.

  11. lbijake says: Sep 12, 2012 11:01 AM

    They are all fleeing the Temple Owls. You can run, but you cannot hide. Hoot Hoot!!

  12. tigersgeaux says: Sep 12, 2012 11:16 AM

    Florida State leaving the ACC and paying anything, even half of $50M in exchange for the Big 12 at $2 to $5M per year? No lawyers I know from Florida State would approve that change. And yes, lawyer/educators administrate.

    If the SEC can discard their absurd “gentlemen’s agreement” not to have two members in a state. Florida State would be a good addition to the SEC. After all, the SEC once had: Georgia Tech and Georgia; Tulane and LSU; Suwanee, Alabama, and Auburn and the last two remain. The SEC currently has Miss. State and Ole Miss from MS, and Vanderbilt and Tennessee from TN.

    The SEC is apparently looking for 2 more schools. I think Slive wants to do this before he retires.

  13. deadeye says: Sep 12, 2012 11:24 AM

    From Irish

    “Most Notre Dame athletics programs have been members of the Big East Conference since 1995 after previously competing in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, North Star Conference and as independents. Jack Swarbrick, vice president and director of athletics at Notre Dame, said the University will work with the Big East and ACC on a timetable to transfer athletic membership.”

    So apparently the exact timeline for ND conference transition is still being negotiated. A logical followup question would be, “When does the fifty million exit fee kick in?”. If it starts some time down the road then there still is a window for a university to leave for the previous twenty million exit fee.

    Everyone is saying that this helps the ACC, but there’s an argument that it does not. Notre Dame has had a similar arrangement with the Big East since 1995. And since that time Virginia Tech, Boston College, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse have all left the Big East. It seems as though having a partial member that receives special privileges causes full members to get upset at that arrangement. By definition that’s destabilizing.

  14. thatstinks says: Sep 12, 2012 11:33 AM

    Lots silliness on this board . FSU won’t leave the ACC due to academic reasons alone . Football is just a slice of the pie . The SEC won’t even go after FSU due to having the Florida TV market & objections from other SEC schools . Same goes for Clemson .

    If the SEC expands it will be for Texas and Oklahoma most likely . Its all about the TV revenue .

    This isn’t to shocking . Its been known that if ND was to join a conference it would be the ACC .

  15. indywvu says: Sep 12, 2012 11:44 AM


    Glad to see someone else point out what you did. ND was one of the major factors of the implosion of the Big East we knew just a few short years ago. It will be interesting to see if they destroy another conference. Some ACC schools will eventually get to where Big East schools were and say “get all in, or get the hell out.”

    Hurry up, Florida State and Clemson, and join the Big 12 before the fee hits $50M and the ACC spirals further downward in college football.

  16. digit960 says: Sep 12, 2012 11:59 AM

    Some of these people that post on here are retards.

  17. thefiesty1 says: Sep 12, 2012 12:45 PM

    I thought Swarbuck and DeLoss were best buds and any further expansion into the Big 12 would include ND. Wrong again DeLoss.

  18. drummerhoff says: Sep 12, 2012 1:05 PM

    Wow … how embarrassing for John Swofford & the ACC.

    You asked ND to be a full-member to help your football-side and you got the royale partial member treatment.

    The worst of the top conferences; lowest TV$; and now ND as a partial member… sound like the old Big East, but now the same qualities define the ACC. John Swoffard … what have you done?

  19. frug says: Sep 12, 2012 1:12 PM

    “In addition to extending an invitation to Notre Dame, the Council of Presidents voted to increase the conference exit fees to three times the annual operating budget. Currently this would equate to an exit fee of over $50 million.”

    The rumors of Clemson, Florida State and/or Miami to the Big 12? If this doesn’t finally kill it, I don’t know what does.

    How about a Grant of TV Rights?

    Texas A&M was supposed to pay the Big XII $20 million and only ended up paying about $10 million. Colorado, Mizzou and Nebraska also all ended up paying about half what they owed.

    I never believed the FSU and Clemson to the Big XII rumors and still don’t, but if the ACC schools were all serious about sticking together long term they would agree to an assignment of rights not exit penalties that would inevitably negotiated down.

  20. js20011041 says: Sep 12, 2012 1:15 PM

    This makes no sense. ND should either remain an independent or become a member of the Big Ten. They already have rivalries with Michigan, Michigan St, and Purdue and would have a natural rivalry with Ohio St. So what traditional games are going to be dropped in favor of playing Wake Forest, Duke, and Maryland?

  21. normtide says: Sep 12, 2012 1:20 PM

    Good point frug. But, the SEC has no grant of rights, exit fees, or waiting period, and its probably the most stable league (along with the pac and b1g). Furthermore, i believe the SEC would prefer teams from Virginia and North Carolina. From what i understand, all NC colleges report to the same BOT, do not sure how that would work. Bottom line is, ND can compete with most ACC teams, and this gives them bigger inroads to the South. They made the smartest choice, IMO.

  22. charles130 says: Sep 12, 2012 1:42 PM

    Exactly, normtide. This puts ND on TV and in front of recruits’ faces five times/year from Tidewater to Miami.

    ACC is happy to add ND to its academic and overall sports profile and gain a strategic ally in the post-BCS era. ND gets a home for its non-revenue sports and keeps its NBC $$$.

    Should ND decide to one day join the ACC in all sports it will be an easy transition.

  23. giablommi says: Sep 12, 2012 3:11 PM

    No surprise, ACC and ESPN have shown that they will stop at nothing to destroy the Big East. Now that the negotiating window for the Big East TV contract is open, expect further efforts by these two to try and rip the heart out of the BE.

    As a fan of BE hoops, I despise both ESPN and the ACC more than words can express. However, other than VT football and Cuse hoops, I don’t really see how the ACC is really improved?
    BC=irrelevant in FB and BB
    Miami=fallen off the face of the earth
    VT hoops= who cares
    Syracuse FB=irrelevant
    Now the ACC grabs one of the biggest, most divisive headaches from the BE, Notre Dame. Good luck with that.

  24. whoisedgy says: Sep 12, 2012 3:20 PM

    Does Notre Dame get placed in the ACC’s bowl rotation? Can they bump an ACC team from the non-Orange Bowls? Will they be an opponent for the ACC in the Orange Bowl? Would this result in rematches?

    I need some help understanding how this helps the ACC. Please, someone, explain it to me. Thanks!

  25. foreverlsu says: Sep 12, 2012 4:16 PM

    How does this benefit the ACC?

    Smart move by Notre Dame. I’m sure they won’t share any bowl revenue with the ACC or NBC money for home games and they get the security of having a complete schedule for their basketball, baseball and olympic sports teams. They definitely could not have received this type of deal from the B1G 10 or Big 12.

  26. matlp57 says: Sep 12, 2012 4:50 PM

    I’ll bet they join the SEC in a few years, and the Big12, and the PAC 10, and the Mountain West, pretty much joining every conference other than the Big10 that they’re right in the middle of.

  27. John Taylor says: Sep 12, 2012 5:02 PM

    You keep tossing ’em up there, klownboy, i’ll keep smacking ’em into bandom.

  28. floridacock says: Sep 12, 2012 5:23 PM

    This is a terrible move for the ACC. Play every 3 years? Where South Bend? Below is a spot on quote from Sportstalk Radio, SC;

    “You see ACC, the Irish will only play five of you each year and they will decide which five they play and when, not you. And the Irish don’t care to play in your silly conference championship game, but they will take a spot in any of the bowl tie-ins you have. Except the Orange Bowl of course, we all know that goes to the ACC Champion and since Notre Dame isn’t really in the ACC, that can’t be them. But that doesn’t mean Notre Dame won’t be in the Orange Bowl. No, you see Notre Dame will negotiate its own deal with the Orange Bowl and if the Irish win 10 or more games, the ACC might actually get six games against them because they will be there to face the winner of the title game. But unlike your conference champion, the Irish won’t be sharing any of that lucrative Orange Bowl money with the rest of the league. They will put that in their pocket, thank you very much.

    That’s the price you pay for that Notre Dame “prestige”.

  29. deadeye says: Sep 12, 2012 5:54 PM

    Check out this article for a couple of interesting bits about the exit fee vote:

    “Florida State Board of Trustees chairman Allan Bense told that Florida State voted against the Atlantic Coast Conference’s new $50 million buyout announced Wednesday with the addition of Notre Dame as the league’s 15th member.”

    “President Barron voted against it. I personally think that $50 million is punitive. I’m not sure that holds up,” said Bense, who was named the chairman of the Board of Trustees for a two-year term in June. Bense also said that Maryland voted against the increased buyout. “I’m not implying that there’s going to be any changes, but $50 million is a lot of money.”

  30. Legion Of Boom says: Sep 12, 2012 6:10 PM

    Guess ND gets to have it’s cake and eat it too. Try not to choke on your gluttony…

  31. rickrock6661982 says: Sep 12, 2012 6:53 PM

    Regardless of what Notre Dame does, they remain irrelevant in the landscape of college sports.

    Clinging to the past doesn’t count..especially after 20+ years

  32. amosalanzostagg says: Sep 12, 2012 6:59 PM

    ACC moves closer and closer to Superconference
    status. Which school is next? Rutgers? UConn?
    Tune into tomorrow for for another exciting episode of “As the Conferences Turn,”

    Texas and OU to the SEC? No, OU is inhibited from changing conferences unless OSU goes with them.

    FSU will stay in the ACC since the Faculty and Staff
    abhor the image of the Big 12. The faculty has come out and stated that the academics in the Big 12 leave a lot to be desired. University presidents usually listen to the faculty, particularly when federal research grant money comes into play.

    I could see the OU/OSU jump to the SEC being the most realistic.

    The question that is being begged to asked is what do the PAC 12 and the Big Ten do?

    Texas and BYU to the PAC 12?

    Rutgers and Louisville to the Big Ten?

    Louisville and WVU to the Big Ten?

    Like Bettie Davis said ” Sit down and buckle in, it looks like a bumpy ride!”

  33. vincentbojackson says: Sep 12, 2012 8:42 PM

    The Big 10 made the most sense geographically, but Notre Dame probably became alarmed by how pathetic that conference has become from top to bottom.

    There’s nobody in the Big 10 that’s respected on a national level anymore. Most member schools refuse to schedule any non-conference heavy weights, instead opting to only play home games against mid-majors to pad their records.

  34. klownboy says: Sep 12, 2012 9:02 PM

    Just trying to spread the gospel lol!

  35. frug says: Sep 12, 2012 9:44 PM


    They were concerned about the lack of strength in the Big 10 so they joined the ACC?


    The Big XII schools just signed a GOR so they are stuck together for another 13 years come hell or high water.

    The PAC-12 won’t allow religiously affiliated schools so no BYU there, and the Big 10 requires AAU membership for all schools not located in South Bend so unless they can still raid the ACC their only options are Rutgers and maybe trying to pry Missouri away from the SEC (which is unrealistic and likely to soon be impossible since if the SEC starts a network they’ll need probably have to sign a GOR in order to bundle their rights)

  36. mattlion says: Sep 13, 2012 1:07 AM

    “The Big 10 made the most sense geographically, but Notre Dame probably became alarmed by how pathetic that conference has become from top to bottom.

    There’s nobody in the Big 10 that’s respected on a national level anymore. Most member schools refuse to schedule any non-conference heavy weights, instead opting to only play home games against mid-majors to pad their records.”

    Huh? Didn’t Michigan just play Alabama in Texas? Wisconsin and Illinois just played road games against PAC-12 teams. PSU just had a home and home with Alabama.

    Is there anybody in the ACC “that’s respected on a national level” anymore?

  37. norcalirish says: Sep 13, 2012 1:34 AM

    I’m absolutely LOVING the hate on here. ROFL

  38. geo4444 says: Sep 13, 2012 4:59 PM

    Since the “media” is quick to burn PSU but not submit the other side, I have to post here.

    Hey, NBC, how long until you report the latest report by PS4RS!

    Other than the flamers out there, take the time to read ANOTHER report, this one publish recently by PS4RS. It’s primary focus is to shed light on the “Freeh” report failures and opinionated results. However, you will (all) learn a heck of a lot about timing, accountability, responsibility, ownership, facts, omissions and suppositions.

    The flamers can just write hateful responses continuing their ignorance on a topic they believe they are so well informed.

  39. amosalanzostagg says: Sep 13, 2012 7:13 PM


    PSU is yesterday’s news.

    PSU is 0-2 this season and is losing players left and right. Up to 13 now. You are losing your crop now.
    Next to go will be the seed corn. I already know the pressure being applied to recruits you think PSU has locked up. Recruits will be lost when losing in conference grows.

    Then you’ll lose the fans. When the fans go, alumni
    giving starts to go to specific schools or specific
    items, say the Paterno library. Then the scholarship
    restrictions hit, and what was an experience in the fall in Happy Valley becomes a memory.

    PSU needs to put this behind them or it will consume a proud University.

  40. amosalanzostagg says: Sep 13, 2012 7:29 PM


    The Big 12 will stay intact as long as Deloss wants it to. Deloss, right or wrong, has always done what is in Texas best interests. He did not build Texas, Inc to besecond rate. Remember, this is the guy that proudly stated “We ARE the Jones!” a play on the statement “Keeping up with the Jones.”

    If Deloss sees the Big 12 with 10 teams are not going to be at the table of Super Conferences, then Deloss will look for greener pastures. Texas is the only team in the Big 12 that has options. OU is tied at the hip with OSU for a conference move. The most logical move for OU/OSU would be to approach the SEC.

    ACC has 15 teams. Who will be 16? Rutgers? UConn?

    SEC has 14 teams. Who are their candidates? Texas? OU/OSU? another
    dark horse?

    Money is driving this machine now, Big Money. Billions of billions of dollars for Men’s Basketball and Football.

    At most there are 11 slots remaining for 4 superconferences. Who is in?
    Who is out?

    The Big 12 has the most to lose since there are not 6 quality programs in
    large TV markets that makes sense geographically.

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