South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Notre Dame has become the latest big-name
school to exit the Big East and will join the Atlantic Coast Conference in all
sports, except football.
It's another coup for the ACC and another blow to the changing Big East.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced plans last September to join the ACC and
will do so next year after working out an early exit from the Big East. West
Virginia also moved from the Big East to the Big 12 this year, but only after
a threat of legal action led to an exit agreement.
The Big East usually requires a 27-month notice of departure, and Notre Dame
has said it will work with both conferences on a timetable to transfer
"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," said
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick in Wednesday's statement. "This
will enable us 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."
While Notre Dame will remain independent in football, the new partnership will
include the Fighting Irish playing five ACC opponents each year and each
conference member at least once every three years.
Notre Dame had been a Big East member in most sports but football since 1995.
The men's hockey team had been part of the Central Collegiate Hockey
Association and will move to Hockey East next year.
"We are immensely grateful to the members of the Big East, which has been a
wonderful home for us the past 17 years," Swarbrick added. "We also think that
the conference has a strong future under the leadership of its new
commissioner, Mike Aresco."
The Big East is a conference in transition, but reinforcements are already on
the way to replace West Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and now, Notre Dame.
Temple has rejoined the league in football this fall and will become a full
conference member for 2013-14. Boise State and San Diego State were added as
football-only members with Memphis, Central Florida, Houston and SMU joining
for all sports starting in 2013-14. Navy will also join for football in 2015.
There had long been speculation that if Notre Dame were to change conferences,
it would move to the Big Ten with its natural rivalries based in the Midwest.
Instead, the Irish will move to a southern-based league that has gradually
extended its footprint northward.
"Notre Dame enhances the (ACC's) unique blend of public and private
institutions that are international in scope," said ACC commissioner John
Swofford. "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 addition of Notre Dame will give the ACC 15 members, leaving room for
further expansion. It also marks the sixth former Big East member to leave for
the ACC, as Miami-Florida, Virginia Tech and Boston College all previously
made the move before Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
The ACC also said it was raising the exit fee for conference members to three
times the league's annual operating budget, equating to more than $50 million.
The Sports Network