Notre Dame is heading to the ACC. The Fighting Irish will become a full member of the conference aside from the football team, which will still play a handful of games against ACC foes each season, reports Brett McMurphy of ESPN.
Notre Dame will join ACC as full member w/exception of football. ND will play 5 football games annually vs. ACC, sources told @espn— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 12, 2012
McMurphy states the move will occur as soon as Notre Dame can exit the Big East. The conference requires more than two years notice to withdraw, but the university can work with the Big East to move the date up.
Update: Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 2:40 p.m.
The move has raised questions about Notre Dame's football independence, but Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune passes along a quote from Brian Kelly that shows no change is on the horizon.
#NotreDame HC Brian Kelly: "From a football standpoint, we have further solidified our future as an independent in college football."— Brian Hamilton (@ChiTribHamilton) September 12, 2012
This is not a surprise. Even though the Fighting Irish will play so many games against ACC opponents, the independent status is a big part of the program. The conference change in other sports isn't going to change that.
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Update: Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 1:45 p.m.
Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Notre Dame will become a part of the ACC bowl conversation. The Fighting Irish have the opportunity to get selected for one of the conference's bowl games based on ranking or wins.
Notre Dame will join the ACC bowl and could be selected over another ACC team, if its ranked higher or within one win of ACC team. #ACCND— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) September 12, 2012
It doesn't sound like a major issue right now, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out once the switch officially takes place. An ACC team probably wouldn't take kindly to losing its bowl spot to a team that's still technically an independent, if that's what ends up happening.
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The ACC confirmed the high-profile move.
Notre Dame to the ACC. News Release at 10 AM. Stay Tuned. #NDACC— The ACC (@theACC) September 12, 2012
It's clearly a huge get for the conference considering Notre Dame's massive fanbase and nationwide appeal. The Fighting Irish even showed off their global power by playing their football opener in Ireland, further building the school's brand.
Even though the football team will remain independent, playing five games against ACC opponents is the closest thing possible to joining the conference without actually doing it. Nearly half of Notre Dame's regular-season schedule will feature the ACC.
And it's another big loss for the Big East, which was one of the most powerful conferences in the country within the past decade. However, traditional powers like West Virginia have decided to jump ship for different opportunities.
The Big East's loss is a gain for the ACC. The conference's council of presidents released a statement upon accepting Notre Dame, in which they said:
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.
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.
Notre Dame becomes the 15th member of the ACC.