Notre Dame Fighting Irish athletics are now a part of the ACC as a partial member—the exception being the football program—but even though football will remain independent, there are some major details that will drastically impact recruiting.
Brett McMurphy of ESPN broke the news on his Twitter account:
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
Soon thereafter, the ACC confirmed the report via their Twitter account:
Notre Dame to the ACC. News Release at 10 AM. Stay Tuned. #NDACC— The ACC (@theACC) September 12, 2012
Here's the release that the ACC issued announcing the news via their website.
The huge caveat here is that football won't be joining the conference, but the details in McMurphy's tweet are what will really impact recruiting for the Irish. As part of this, Notre Dame football will play five games against ACC opponents annually.
The impact this detail will have on the recruiting scene is massive, and it could be a game changer for the Irish as far as their National Championship hopes and aspirations are concerned.
Playing five games against the ACC a year is going to drastically widen Notre Dame's recruiting scope—as if they needed the national exposure—and it will give them another selling point when it comes to going after elite prospects that happen to be in ACC territory. Many, if not all, recruits have a conference bias, and now Notre Dame will have even more of an advantage in ACC land.
51% of Brian Kelly's recruits at ND (33 of them) have come from the future ACC footprint.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 12, 2012
Kelly can now sell these recruits on the point that they will be able to play against ACC teams five times a year now, guaranteed, which means that percentage of success should only increase.
This also really boosts Notre Dame's schedule, which will be a huge draw to elite prospects all around the nation.
I'm making a safe assumption here that the Irish won't want to give up their big rivalry games against schools like Michigan, Michigan State and USC, so imagine a schedule that boasts the likes of those three schools, plus top notch ACC schools like Clemson, Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Miami (FL) for example.
The Irish's strength of schedule would be out of this world—there's little room for cupcakes—and they'd be able to set up a run of games that could remind elite recruits of an SEC schedule.
The best recruits in the nation want to play against the best competition, and now this sets the Irish up to accomplish just that on a yearly basis.
This is going to be a huge draw for Kelly and the Irish when it comes to recruiting elite players from around the country. That plus the added boost that they should get from ACC country is really going to lead to some strong future classes.
Notre Dame football might not be part of the ACC, but with the rest of the program changing over, plus the five annual ACC game stipulation for football, they are setting themselves up to be dominant in the college football recruiting scene once again.
In many cases, great recruiting classes lead to great seasons, and great seasons sometimes lead to National Championships.
This is a huge day for Notre Dame football recruiting.