Breaking News: Conference Realignment: Notre Dame to Join ACC

Notre Dame Has Officially Announced They Are Leaving the Big East for the ACC

Big news set to be announced in both South Bend, Ind. and Chapel Hill, N.C at 12:30 p.m. ET. Notre Dane will be joining the ACC as a full member for all sports but football. However, they have agreed to play five games per year versus ACC competition.

We’ll have more later, but consider this an open thread for this exciting news for the ACC.

UPDATE: Via Notre Dame, here’s the press release announcing the move. Also, as noted in the comments, the exit fee has also been increased to $50M. As a side note, it will also continue to increase over time, since the figure is set at “three times the operating budget.” The vote for this increase was not unanimous, as it’s being reported that both Florida State and Maryland voted against the move.

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19 thoughts on “Breaking News: Conference Realignment: Notre Dame to Join ACC

  1. Wow, huge news, and seemingly out of nowhere. I must admit that it is a little bit disappointing (and insulting) that Notre Dame will not be joining as a full member. Still, this seems like another savy move by the ACC. If and when the college world moves to 16 team mega conferences, the ACC seemingly has Notre Dame in the bag. This is good for conference security, should create some fun football games, and increases the new ACC’s basketball dominance.

    So, do we add their helmet to the top screen?

    • I don’t think we should add the helmet, simply because they won’t actually be a football member of the ACC … they’ll be a relatively common opponent, but it’s still not the same thing as competing for a division title & conference championship.

      It will be interesting though. Wow.

  2. This is massive, incredible news. I’ve never been thrilled with the idea of a partial membership in the ACC. But given all that’s happened, all of the concern about the ACC being “left behind” the other big four conferences, I think this is a good thing.

    Notre Dame for Olympic sports is an OUTSTANDING fit. They are a cultural fit (academically elite private school), a sports fit (very competitive in many sports) and a huge draw across the country.

    This actually keeps things balanced for the football divisions and balances them for the baseball divisions (since Syracuse doesn’t have a team). For basketball, I’d guess that everyone will have two “rivals” that each team plays every year. They’d then play each of the remaining 12 teams at least once, and two of those 12 twice, to make an 18-game schedule.

    As for football, having Notre Dame as an opponent can only help. They’ll get benefits too, of course, but having a high-profile opponent on the schedule is very nice.

    • Right. Especially for football — you get a matchup with Notre Dame at least once every three years, and a home date at least once every six. One of the issues with a lot of the ACC fan bases is relying on those big home draws for revenues. This would definitely assist in alleviating those concerns (slightly).

  3. One other BIG thing from the press release … the exit fee for leaving the ACC has increased. A lot.

    It will now be “three times the annual operating budget” which right now translates to more than $50 million.

    • Simply put, even if switching conferences would net an extra $3 million per year, it would take 17 years to break even, whereas the current ACC TV contract is only for 15 years (through June 31st, 2027). There is absolutely no economic incentive (which was pretty much the ONLY incentive).

  4. WSJV-TV FOX 28, Elkhart, IN posted a press release from Notre Dame, which gave some nice details on this deal. Here are some highlights I picked out:
    * Notre Dame will “join in the ACC’s non-BCS bowl package” (another source indicated the same rule as the ACC uses will apply – namely, they’ll have to be within 1 win in order to leapfrog another team for a bowl spot).
    * Of course, ND will presumably be the ACC’s opponent in the Orange Bowl, hence “non-BCS” bowls
    * Notre Dame home football games will remain on NBC; it will be interesting to see what effect this may have on the ACC’s TV money – after all, ESPN needs sports programming 365 days a year, not just during football season.

    • Depends on several factors. Scheduling, playoff payouts, details of NBC proposal to renew, potential new contract with ESPN — just a lot of factors to iron out. I do think they’ll be full-time eventually. That said, I’m unsure how long that may be. They’d only join the league by 2014 or 2015, so it’s unlikely to coincide with the TV deal. Most likely going to take several run-throughs under the playoff system to determine whether they’re better off under the ACC football umbrella or not.

    • I think the bottom line is that Notre Dame will remain independent in football unless it’s absolutely forced to join a conference for some reason. The presumed reason for this would be that being in a conference would be either a requirement or would significantly help getting a berth in a playoff tournament and/or getting into big bowl games.

      Another theoretical reason would be that it’s more profitable to join the ACC, but I’m not convinced ND will give up independence just for that.

      At this point I’m not convinced there will be any type of playoff system that will force ND to join the ACC for football. I seriously doubt anything will happen by the end of the 2014-15 season.

      I think ND will continue to keep its home games under a separate TV contract, and the ACC (with ESPN) will have the TV for games ND plays that are hosted by ACC teams. I think Notre Dame has generally been making 5-year TV contracts for its football games, so I’d think that will continue.

      As for a 16th team (if that ever happens), I would presume they would take UConn or Rutgers first, but Louisville (and maybe Cincinnati) are theoretically possibilities.

      • Agreeing with everything. HOWEVER:

        I think Louisville’s a much better add than UConn or Rutgers. Relevant in both sports, emerging market, lots of growth potential. I’d assume we’re not adding another non-football member. But if we did, I’d take Georgetown (for obvious reasons).

        • I can understand a Syracuse guy wanting Georgetown in the league (as a Maryland guy I absolutely hate the idea).

          If Louisville improves its academic rep (which I think it’s doing) I see the logic in getting them. They’ve got good facilities and are definitely competitive in athletics, and it’s a nice additional market. I don’t really know that Louisville is a cultural match, but I guess it’s not a complete clash. It would also technically make the conference geographically contiguous, since Kentucky touches Virginia, for whatever that’s worth.

          But, I think the ACC probably won’t have to worry about a #16 team for a while. I doubt there will be anything that happens in the short-term that will force ND to join a conference.

        • Right. More than any other league (besides maybe the B1G), the ACC’s emphasized cultural matches in realignment — one of the biggest reasons they win realignment; creating stability amongst like institutions. You can’t tell me that any of the all-sports options left out there are really “ACC schools,” can you?

          The Georgetown idea is only floated out of some random need for people to see an even number of teams in basketball and some of the other sports (misguided, but we can humor the conversation). As an SU guy, I don’t want Georgetown to help them — I hate them more than you do, and our rivalry with UConn has propped the Big East up over the last decade more so than our matchups with the Hoyas. I’m just coming at it from a worst-case scenario perspective. If we HAD TO invite a non-football school, I think that Georgetown obviously fits that ACC mold more than anyone else. That qualifier (“had to”) is all that allows me to have the Georgetown conversation. Otherwise, don’t care what happens to them in realignment musical chairs.

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