The University of Notre Dame has decided to join the Atlantic Coast Conference for all sports except football for now. Notre Dame will maintain its football independence, at least in theory, but will play five games a year against ACC teams under the new agreement.
The Fighting Irish have decided to leave the Big East Conference because, according to a statement from the university, “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.”
According to ESPN, Notre Dame will make its official announcement about joining the ACC at a press conference this afternoon. Schools who leave the Big East are contractually required to pay a hefty exit fee ($5 million) and give 27 months notice, but Notre Dame may be able to get out sooner if it coughs up more dough.
In allowing Notre Dame to remain an independent football power, the ACC “is making an exception to its all-or-nothing requirement for schools to be full members,” ABC News reports.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse recently left the Big East for the ACC. Prior to that, the Big East lost Miami and Virginia Tech. Notre Dame was a member of the Big East since 1995. Once Notre Dame joins the ACC, the conference will have 15 teams in basketball which will require some scheduling adjustments. The hook-up with the ACC apparently won’t affect Notre Dame’s current contract with NBC for football telecasts.
Watch an ESPN report on Notre Dame’s move to the ACC:
With all the departures, do you think that the Big East can survive as a viable college sports conference?