“A good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied, and I think that’s what we have here.” – credited to U.S. statesman Henry Clay.
Many Florida State and Clemson fans are upset because they feel that Notre Dame is getting a sweetheart deal, and they’re jealous of it. They cite the fact that Notre Dame only has to commit to playing five ACC teams each year while they are forced to play nine – thus making it very difficult for them to schedule the non-conference opponents they would like to play. They also cite the fact that Notre Dame is allowed to continue with its own TV contract separate from the ACC (for football) while still benefiting from the ACC’s football bowls, basketball games & TV, etc. And, of course, they are not happy about the increased exit fee which they feel was instituted to keep them – not Notre Dame – from leaving, with Maryland and Florida State specifically voting against it.
On the other hand, many Notre Dame fans don’t like the deal either, but for different reasons. They think that it is a bad deal for ND and a good deal for the ACC. The Irish had to contractually agree to playing five games per year against a rotating schedule of all 14 ACC teams. To many Notre Dame fans that means they are giving up 5/12th of their football independence (which, I suppose, they are). Keep in mind also that the terms of the deal call for Notre Dame to get a 1/15th share of the basketball money only – which the ACC successfully negotiated as only 20 percent of the total TV revenue. 1/15th of 20% = 1.3%. So from this point of view, Notre Dame will become 5/9th of an ACC football team but will only be paid a 20% (1/5th) share. (Before anyone cries for Notre Dame, bear in mind they will keep 100% of their own football TV contract with NBC, so they will be just fine)
Are these concerns really fair? Well consider this: Notre Dame is expected to increase ACC attendance more than the ACC will help the Irish. Having those five games per year against Notre Dame (plus all basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, etc.) will also give the ACC TV contract a boost estimated at $2 million per year for all 14 teams. Notre Dame will probably also get an increase from NBC, but you’d be hard-pressed to prove it’s because of this deal. So what does Notre Dame get out of it? First, they actually get to keep their unique deal with NBC – a significant benefit in itself. They also get a guarantee, effectively, that they won’t have to play any FCS or lower-tier FBS teams, while still retaining control over 7 football games per season – more than any member of any conference.
Fans at Florida State Maryland, Clemson and elsewhere are unhappy because they feel that Notre Dame is getting more than they give, while Notre Dame fans think the opposite. Lawyers, are fond of paraphrasing the above quote when reaching a settlement in which both parties are unhappy in some way. Using that criteria, this must be a good settlement.
Read more from Hokie Mark over at ACCFootballRx, where he gives his prescription for fixing what ails the ACC on the gridiron.