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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Notre Dame headed to ACC

New Big East commissioner Mike Aresco's job just got significantly more challenging with the news that Notre Dame has agreed to leave the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The biggest surprise isn't that Notre Dame made the jump to the ACC but the Fighting Irish did it while maintaining its status as an independent in football (although Notre Dame did agree to play five games annually against ACC teams). The feeling was that when Notre Dame joined the ACC in all sports, a team (likely either UConn or Rutgers) would be added. Now that Notre Dame is not joining in football it remains to be seen if there will be a push to add another team to the ACC.

From a women's basketball standpoint, this is a crushing loss for the Big East as the Notre Dame/UConn rivalry has developed into one of the nation's best in recent years. Certainly West Virginia is a quality women's basketball program but I'm not sure that the departures of West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse impacted the world of Big East women's basketball in a significant way. The same can not be said in this case. If UConn does not end up following the Fighting Irish to the ACC, the Huskies will go back to being the unquestioned dominant force in the Big East.

Here is the release from the ACC including the major twist that exit fees for current ACC teams have been tripled to reach $50 million:


GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to accept the University of Notre Dame as a new member. The Irish will compete as full members in all conference sponsored sports with the exception of football which will play five games annually against league programs.

"We are committed to keeping the Atlantic Coast Conference a vibrant and competitive league dedicated to ensuring the appropriate balance of academics, athletics and integrity," said the ACC Council of Presidents in a joint statement. "The addition of Notre Dame further strengthens the rich tradition and culture of the ACC as well as allowing for future academic collaboration and we enthusiastically welcome them into the league."

"The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity," said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford. "Our partnership with Notre Dame only strengthens this long-standing commitment. Notre Dame enhances the league's unique blend of public and private institutions that are international in scope. 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 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 I. Jenkins, C.S.C. "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."

"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 Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame Vice President and Director of Athletics. "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."

With the addition of Notre Dame, the ACC's future membership includes 11 institutions ranked among the top 58 in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report survey of "America's Best Colleges", more than any other conference also competing at the highest level athletically.

In addition to extending an invitation to Notre Dame, the Council of Presidents voted to increase the conference exit fees to three times the annual operating budget. Currently this would equate to an exit fee of over $50 million. 

2 Comments:

Anonymous Joe said...

actually Notre Dame's ice hockey teams also are not joining the ACC; they will remain in Hockey East (the ACC has no ice hockey).

Huge loss for Big East basketball.

The Big East always has been a basketball conference first, football secondary...how is it that football now is driving the show?

12:35 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

Money. Conference championship games in football bring in major cash and the more bowl teams in a conference, the more money to goes to the rest of the conference

2:05 PM 

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