SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CBSNewYork/AP) — In yet another shakeup for the embattled Big East, Notre Dame is leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference but will remain independent in football.
The ACC and Notre Dame said Wednesday that the school will play five football games annually against the league’s programs, while Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement that the Irish will also have access to the ACC’s non-BCS bowl tie-ins.
“We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us,” Swarbrick said. “We are able to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACC’s non-BCS bowl package, and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports.”
After Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they would be leaving the Big East last year, many wondered what could be in store for conference mainstays UConn, Rutgers and Notre Dame.
Now we know for certain on the Fighting Irish.
The move allows the Irish to maintain football independence, while the ACC is making an exception to its all-or-nothing requirement for schools to be full members. ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement the move was “a terrific milestone in the evolution of the ACC and showcases tremendous solidarity and vision by our Council of Presidents.”
Along with inviting Notre Dame, the ACC also says it has increased its exit fees for the conference’s schools to three times the league’s annual operation budget — which would currently come to more than $50 million.
It was not clear when the realignment will take effect. The ACC scheduled a news conference for Wednesday afternoon in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Notre Dame has played basketball in the Big East for years, but Syracuse and Pitt are leaving the league along with West Virginia — and now Notre Dame. In the ACC, the Irish will face traditional powers like Duke, North Carolina and the league also fits the sports Notre Dame is competitive in, including: lacrosse and soccer.
The ACC in turn gets one of the nation’s premier football programs, raising its profile alongside the likes of Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech and Clemson.
“The ACC is composed of some of the most highly respected universities in the country, and we at Notre Dame look forward to joining them,” said Notre Dame President, Rev. John Jenkins. “With a mix of institutions — many of which are also private, similar to Notre Dame in size, and committed to excellence in research and undergraduate education — the ACC is an exceptionally good fit for us academically, as well as athletically.”
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