And the winner in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish sweepstakes is………..
The Atlantic Coast Conference….
The ACC just got way more interesting to say the least as Notre Dame has agreed to enter into competition in all sports, except for football, as soon as it possibly can.
Even though the Irish are holding on to their “independence”, they have agreed to play five ACC Football games each year moving forward which will pave the way for entry at some point in the near future.
“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.”
This is a major win for the ACC as Notre Dame was the darling being courted by the Big 10 and the Big 12.
“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.”
Notre Dame is excited about its future with the academics as well as athletics the ACC has to offer. It is a perfect mix of what its mission on and off the field currently is at the university.
“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 the Irish, the ACC Presidents also voted to increase its exit fee from the conference to three times its operating budget which equals around $50 million. In other words, the Irish and no one is going anywhere anytime soon.
With the addition of Notre Dame, the ACC now has 11 of the top 58 schools in the 2013 US News & World Report’s survey of “America’s Best Colleges”. This is the most of any conference that also competes at the high level of intercollegiate athletics.
But with all that being said, let’s get back to why football will follow suit soon as a full member.
Think about it…
The south is where recruits want to go.
Notre Dame knows that it needs something besides “Notre Dame” to win over recruits.
Playing in front of crazy packed southern stadiums on the road. Hosting the dedicated fans who travel to South Bend, Indiana, and spend tons of money.
As soon as the Irish bosses get a taste of the almighty conference dollar, it will not be long until they stop dating the ACC in football and be ready to say, “I Do”, with its whole heart.
M. Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years experience in sports broadcasting, journalism and college athletics and currently covers ACC Football for Rant Sports.
Follow him @woodysmalls