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.