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Is Notre Dame football getting a raw deal with ACC partnership?

Brian Kelly

Notre Dame’s decision to leave the Big East as it was crumbling led to a new deal with the ACC that would provide a conference home for all sports except football and ice hockey. As far as Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is concerned, the Irish may be getting the short end of the stick of the deal compared to the rest of the athletic programs in South Bend.

“Football had to give up a little bit, relative to flexibility and scheduling by taking on with the ACC,” Kelly told Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports in a recent podcast interview. “Therefore, it’s put us in a very difficult situation scheduling and unfortunately it’s taken some of the schools like a Michigan and Michigan State, off our schedule. Because we’re going to keep Navy, we’re going to keep Stanford and we’re going to keep USC. Those three schools are not coming off and those are etched in stone. So now, add your ACC schools with those three schools and you’re really limited as to where you can go.”

Notre Dame’s scheduling agreement with the ACC requires the Irish to play as many as five ACC opponents each season, with Notre Dame rotating through the conference on a yearly basis to allow every school to get a chance to have Notre Dame on the schedule. The more important part of the deal for Notre Dame is the ability to retain its football independence, which allows for a separate television deal (with NBC) and has been of significant value to the university for years.

As a result of the scheduling agreement with the ACC, Notre Dame will play five games against ACC opponents each season in addition to the previously referenced match-ups with traditional rivals Navy, Stanford and USC. That helps keep the Irish playing west coast teams every season and ensures a steady east coast presence as well. Although Notre Dame resides in the thick of the Big Ten and the midwest, the importance of getting exposure coast to coast is not to be overlooked for recruiting and media rights negotiations in the future. If that means football, the most visible and noteworthy program in the athletic department needs to give a little for the benefit of the rest of the university and department, that is just what has to happen. Kelly understands that.

“All I can do is voice my – as a football coach, and especially one that’s been in the Midwest, I love the ability to play Michigan and Michigan State and the tradition of it, but the reality of it is for our athletic department to enter into the agreement with the ACC we have to give up a little bit from a football perspective relative to scheduling,” Kelly told Feldman. “And to make our athletic department whole, relative to soccer and lacrosse and basketball, that ACC agreement was absolutely crucial for our athletic teams.”

So is Notre Dame football getting the raw deal here? Hardly. The Irish can take advantage of the ACC’s bowl tie-ins under certain circumstances and will benefit by having that exposure in the east and southeast in addition to the west coast and any other national opponents Notre Dame ends up scheduling. Notre Dame has always attempted to schedule nationally and that is not going to change. In fact, in an era where some conferences have increased the number of conference games or scheduling commitments, having the security of the ACC scheduling arrangement actually helps Notre Dame move into this new era with a bit more ease and less stress on having to schedule games against quality opponents. With five guaranteed games against the ACC and commitments to play Stanford and USC, Notre Dame is in much better shape than another independent program (BYU) is dealing with right now. And with Notre Dame being formally recognized as an opponent equal to a power conference opponent to satisfy non-conference scheduling requirements, the Irish remain in a uniquely position in the new college football era.

You can listen to the full podcast conversation between Kelly and Feldman on

Helmet sticker to Dr. Saturday.

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25 Responses to “Is Notre Dame football getting a raw deal with ACC partnership?”
  1. auburntigers34 says: May 22, 2014 5:14 PM

    If those match ups mean so much to them, they should’ve joined the B1G. but it’s not like having to play 5 ACC teams(along with the 3 rivalries that they’re keeping) locks up their schedule. They still have 4 slots that they can schedule however they see fit.

    Cry me a freaking river, Notre Dame.

  2. deadeye says: May 22, 2014 5:22 PM

    Raw deal? Anyone who truly believes this is wacked. What’s happening is that they are slowly being initiated into conference play, like the rest of the P5. The days of special treatment are winding down and it’s a little painful right now. Eventually only conference champions will get into the playoff, and the Irish will have to either fully join the ACC or be left out.

  3. musketmaniac says: May 22, 2014 5:38 PM

    f..k the irish

  4. ecnc30 says: May 22, 2014 5:55 PM

    ND has, does and always will..cry, whine and suck

  5. dcroz says: May 22, 2014 5:56 PM

    I agree with auburntigers34. ND has been invited to join the Big Ten on several occasions and each time has turned it down, unwilling to share any of its football cash in exchange for all the benefits of being in a conference (easier scheduling, bowl tie-ins, etc.). Being in the Midwest, it belongs in the major conference from the Midwest. The ACC is a strong conference overall and has being gaining in respectability in football the last couple years after battling the Big East for redheaded stepchild status for most of the BCS era, so the Irish are not suffering as a result. But if they wanted to keep their games with the Wolverines and Spartans, they should have joined the conference that would have guaranteed that.

  6. donovandancy says: May 22, 2014 6:14 PM

    The ACC is by far getting the raw end of the deal.
    Back when expansion was hotly going on, Swoffard was fighting for his job because he is . . . well lets face it, a moron.
    He had to do something to save his job, so he brought in Notre Dame. Which idiots in the ACC loved.

    But, the reason the ACC got ND to join was because they did what the Big 10 was unwilling to do, let ND join as a partial member, keep their network tie in earnings, and give up a potential bowl bid because of it.

    So, notre Dame literally go to avoid being tied into a conference financially and with scheduling . . . for essentially FREE MONEY. The acc is pretty much paying Notre dame to take money from them as any other school would have to join as a full member, split revenue for all games, and only get the ACC’s bcs bid if they won an ACC schedule.

    The whole point of bringing in ND to a conference is because it would add a HUGE revinue bump for a network payout. Considering Swoffie let ND keep their NBC deal for their home games, this eliminates the conference bump in network payout. Literally they are worth HALF as much to their “conference” as “notre dame” should be worth. And then, even that half is further reduced because they only play 4 conference games a year.

    So, they bring in half the money, and play half of the number of games Even UCONN is worth more in a network bid than 1/4 of notre dame.

    So, by far the ACC is screwed under this deal.

  7. jimbo75025 says: May 22, 2014 7:36 PM

    ND got a great deal. Out of those 5 games/yr, 2 or 3 will be home games anyway so no loss of $ for ND. The big benefit for the rest of the ACC is that the schools where ND plays their 2 or 3 road games a year will be sellouts which can be hard to come by at some ACC schools. As much as I do hate ND they do bring in people at the turnstiles.

  8. rocket1988 says: May 22, 2014 7:47 PM

    You’re all wrong. But your all conference lemmings who can’t understand this. ND lost the right to play msu & um because they wanted to guarantee themselves 7 home games. ND doesn’t play 7 home games, so how’s that bad for the ACC? And lastly, how many admins & ADs with ND ties work in the B1G? I can only think of one at Ohio St. In the ACC? There are at least half a dozen. ND wants to reward their own. And as far as scheduling goes, ND is the originator of Anyone, Anywhere, & Anytime.

  9. lpageb says: May 22, 2014 8:21 PM

    As an ND fan, I take issue with this article. It suggests that Brian Kelly was saying that ND was getting “the short end of the stick” in the ACC deal. Neither Kelly nor anyone else at ND has said anything of the sort. On the contrary, ND and any ND fan with a brain realizes how important and beneficial this deal was to ND.

    There has been a lot of consternation in the college football world about the ND-UM series and other ND-B1G ties fading away. Kelly was simply explaining why the ACC deal necessitated that. No one from ND would ever call joining the ACC as partial members a “raw deal” ND is quite relieved to have a landing spot after the Big East went away. In my opinion this was a poorly executed article.

  10. musketmaniac says: May 22, 2014 8:40 PM

    Notre Dame has turned into the leach of college football. They did the Big East no favors. Of course the Big east ran a chicken shyt conference. All sports or No sports that should be a sports COMMANDMENT. No Irish football, but watch their men’s basketball awaken from the dead. Loved Miami, but truth be told we never got their best program(baseball). we had Temple water down the football conference for years, but never brought the great John Chaney or Owl basketball. The addition of DePaul and Marquette, at the Irish demand was idiotic. Always hated the Irish, never was a fan of the ACC, I know the B1G is desperate, but they are better off without those little leprechauns.

  11. thefiesty1 says: May 22, 2014 9:09 PM

    I can’t wait to see ND-Wake Forest match up instead of ND-Michigan. I agree with Coach that ND took a step backwards in the “agreement” with the ACC. BIG mistake. Better fit would be with the Big 12. Tx-ND, OU-ND, that would have been the best senerio.

  12. drummerhoff says: May 22, 2014 9:36 PM

    5 ACC games + USC + Navy + Stanford = 8 scheduled games fixed each season. that’s sound a lot like belonging to a conference. So much for ” independence”.

  13. goirish0112 says: May 22, 2014 10:09 PM

    What do you mean “the Irish may be getting the short end of the stick of the deal compared to the rest of the athletic programs in South Bend?” All the athletic programs in South Bend are “the Irish.” Also, Kelly never said they’re getting a raw deal; that’s your interpretation. Nor was he whining or crying like some people here are saying. He’s explained the situation and the scheduling constraints.

  14. seminolez says: May 23, 2014 8:30 AM

    just join a dang conference already

  15. mediocrebob says: May 23, 2014 8:41 AM

    Anyone who says they should’ve joined b1g is clueless to how this BUSINESS we call college football works.

    The special treatment conversation is one that always makes me laugh as well. PLEASE anyone in the b1g play the Irish schedule on a yearly basis. It was said earlier. Anyone. Anytime. Any place.

  16. mauldawg says: May 23, 2014 9:08 AM

    ND has always been one of the biggest cry baby programs in college sports. They seem to think that they are still one of the “Big Boys” and everyone must kiss their behind. Wish ND would just grow a pair or just shut up.

  17. irishdodger says: May 23, 2014 9:20 AM

    If you resent ND, you will call them names. If you’re an ND fan like me, you know your history. SEC honks on this thread think football started in 1998. If not, they’d know that Michigan blackballed ND from joining the B1G. If you’re mad at ND for their Independence….blame Michigan. They got their wish and Rockne was forced to play a national schedule. The rest is history that you Lemmings don’t care to acknowledge. As for the ACC? I would’ve preferred the Big 12 but either is better than the B1G. Don’t worry, ND will be forced to join the ACC as a full member sooner vs later. They will realize that they will have to go 12-0 against a national schedule w/ zero FCS schools which will be virtually impossible in today’s game. One or two loss conference champs can get a pass, ND needs to realize that. As far as the author’s title? He got what he wanted. Page hits on a non-issue. Nowhere did BK say ND got a raw deal. The blogger just showed his anti-ND bias and framed the article w/ a title to his liking. Good job…it worked.

  18. mogogo1 says: May 23, 2014 9:56 AM

    If it is a raw deal there is nobody to blame but Notre Dame themselves, as they were the ones who agreed to it.

  19. jimmyden says: May 23, 2014 10:02 AM

    During my years at ND so long ago they did make sure I can count.
    So let’s see: ND plays 12 regular season games. OK, 5 with the ACC, Navy, Stanford, USC adds to 8, right? That leaves 4 for Michigan and Michigan State, with 2 left for games with the SEC, Big 12, etc.
    So what’s the problem? Could it be Michigan and MSU are always tough games with a good chance of losing??

  20. chicagokman says: May 23, 2014 1:32 PM

    The Wahhhmbulance runs 24×7 in South Bend. Nothing stopping ND from scheduling UM/MSU, Chip, except maybe the fear of losing to them. Raw deal? Hardly. All the bennies of being a conference member but still having your own extremely lucrative TV deal. If anyone gets the short end of the stick it’s the ACC but then they deserve it for agreeing to such a lopsided deal.

  21. tallaman87 says: May 28, 2014 12:13 PM

    “you’re really limited as to where you can go.”

    Limited? Really? How about if you go to Tallahassee, Miami, Clemson, Atlanta, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Chapel Hill, Boston..get the idea? Giving up Michigan is a good thing – just look at all of the places you get to go now. ND football should be celebrating over what they have, not crying over what they don’t have.

  22. nydemocrats says: May 29, 2014 10:05 AM

    Actually, any conference cursed with the baggage ND brings to the table with it’s whining and pompous arrogance would be getting the raw deal. ND has to begin to understand that the amount of tuition they charge students has nothing to do with its athletic importance.

  23. irishfbfan1 says: Jun 4, 2014 10:58 PM

    Irish will be fine, it has made some scheduling with longtime opponents difficult. When this happens the teams you drop begin to run their mouths with idiotic statements like we are scared lol! If we drop this team they bitch, if we drop somebody else they bitch, try to do the right thing to make the ACC happy and you hear people bitch.
    Believe me, it won’t EVER happen but if Notre Dame were to join a conference we are talking a freaking MAJOR MAJOR relief in overall football schedule no matter what conference they joined! Huge relief! Funny how all the haters say ” oh they are not relevant but they are waiting and pushing to get the good guys in their conference lol! The minority which is the non Notre Dame fans will be the first to talk negativity about them but make sure their fingers crossed if there is any chance to get them, I call it respect, RELEVANT RESPECT!

    Go Irish
    Stay Independent!

  24. bfree2k says: Sep 4, 2014 12:51 PM

    Raw Deal?! Is this a serious question? Is it a raw deal that ND gets an exclusive deal with NBC extended through 2015 that pays the athletic program tens of millions annually? Is a raw deal that ND gets to play in a bowl game with a tie-in to the ACC if ND ranks higher than an ACC school which would otherwise be slated to play in that game–even though ND is independent in football? Didn’t B. Kelly claim just last year that Michigan is “not one of our historic rival’s’ but is now complaining that ND can’t play Michigan because of this ACC scheduling agreement? GTFOH and tell it to your mama!

  25. sssjim7 says: Sep 8, 2014 2:33 AM

    Hrm… I am pretty sure Notre Dame is only playing 4 ACC teams, not 5…

    They play Syracuse, Florida State, North Carolina, and Louisville this year.

    That is only 4, right????


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