Football team to keep its independent status
The announcement that Notre Dame would join the ACC apparently was somewhat of a surprise. On a teleconference with ACC football coaches on Wednesday, some heard the news for the first time during the call. Reaction was swift and virtually unanimous.
"I think it's great for the ACC and great for Notre Dame," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said.
In the afternoon, ACC commissioner John Swofford addressed the move in a news conference in Chapel Hill, N.C., along with officials from Notre Dame.
"This is indeed a monumental day in the history of our league," Swofford said.
In joining the ACC in all sports except football and ice hockey, Notre Dame brings the conference national brand recognition and added leverage in television contract negotiations. As it leaves the Big East, Notre Dame in return joins a healthier conference that will reunite it with Big East partners Syracuse and Pittsburgh, which will join the ACC next year.
In the changing landscape of college athletics, the move also helps Notre Dame forge bowl alliances while retaining its independent status and lucrative television deal in football. The Fighting Irish will play five football games a year against ACC teams and still will be able to schedule many of its traditional rivals such as USC and Navy.
"It's the perfect geographic fit for us," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said. "We'll be connected to 10 of the 11 largest cities in America, which will be able to help our university and promote our educational mission."
It is uncertain when the move will take effect. The Big East requires 27 months' notice to withdraw but has waived the stipulation in exchange for a fee with other schools that have left. Notre Dame is the sixth team from the Big East to leave for the ACC since 2004.
The move also positions Notre Dame better in a variety of sports, including basketball, soccer and lacrosse.
"In a host of sports, this is unquestionably the best athletic conference in the country," Swarbrick said. "And we will only make it better."
Locally, Notre Dame's move to the ACC only can help Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Attempts to reach Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson were unsuccessful, but he released the following statement.
"We are excited to welcome Notre Dame as the 15th member of our conference," Anderson said. "Notre Dame has a rich history of excellence in academics and athletics, which align with the principles of the ACC. This is a tremendous step for our league, and we look forward to competing against Notre Dame."
Maryland can expect a bump in TV revenue, according to Brett McMurphy of ESPN, who tweeted: "Notre Dame also could increase ACC's media rights from $17M per school to [between] $18M-$19M per school."
Notre Dame's move will not affect its long-standing football series with Navy, according to Midshipmen athletic director Chet Gladchuk, who said he got no indication that it was imminent from Swarbrick when Navy played Notre Dame on Sept. ?1. The Mids and Irish have an agreement to play through 2026.
"I don't think it's going to affect our series at all," Gladchuk said. "We've got a contract, and we've had a great relationship and a historical partnership that's sentimental."