The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the latest university to join the NCAA craze that is jumping conferences. On Wednesday, September 12th Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins and Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick announced at a press conference with ACC Commissioner John Swofford that the school has a commitment to leave the Big East and join the ACC in all sports except football beginning in the 2015-16 season or possibly before.
Leaving the Big East normally takes a $5 million exit fee and a 27-month notice period but Notre Dame is hopeful that the process could be expedited. There is a possibility that could happen but there is also a greater chance that the Irish would have to wait until the 2015-16 before their exodus to the ACC.
Notre Dame athletics will compete in ACC in a total of 25 sports except for their holy grail which is football however their grid iron program will receive some benefits including the opportunity to compete against five ACC teams per year in that sport and also some of their Bowl Game rights with the exceptions of the BCS bowls.
The Irish will also get to keep their lucrative television deal with NBC but will receive no revenue or access of the ACC’s current television deal with ESPN. So as far as the money is concerned everything will pretty much stay the same with football, but the Irish do get the benefits of competing against some tougher foes while keeping their natural rivals such as Michigan, Michigan State and USC thus enhancing their strength of schedule and their possibilities for greater postseason opportunities.
On the basketball front this makes arguably the toughest conference in the nation even better as now another top flight program can be added to the likes of North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Florida State and this list goes on and on.
In my opinion what this moves means is that it is only a matter of time, whether it be five years or 10 years or whatever before the Fightin’ Irish’s football program finally leaves the ranks of the independent and conforms to the way of life that is playing in a conference.