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BREAKING: Notre Dame Accepts Invitation To Join ACC

Fighting Irish Will Become Full-Time Member In All Sports Besides Football

Sports Editor

Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The Holy War will no longer be just taking place on the football field for Boston College and Notre Dame. The University announced today that it has accepted an invitation to join the ACC, and will become the 15th member of the conference. The Fighting Irish will remain independent in football, but will become full-time members of the ACC in all other sports.

"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 Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick. "This will enable us 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.

Notre Dame will be another conference-hopper from the Big East, joining Syracuse and Pittsburgh, who accepted invitations to the ACC last year. The Fighting Irish are leaving the Big East, with the exit date not yet set. The earliest they could leave without a penalty is in 2015, but the possibility of a buyout is certainly possible.

"The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity," said ACC 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."

The addition of Notre Dame makes the ACC a very solid conference, especially with all of the changes colleges have been making over the past two years.

"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 ACC Council of Presidents said 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."

Notre Dame announced last October that its hockey program would be joining Hockey East in 2013. The school’s teams will be visiting Chestnut Hill even more often now through all of its varsity programs. As far as football goes, the Fighting Irish have agreed to annually play five ACC members and each conference opponent at least once every three years.

BC had previously agreed on a contract extension with Notre Dame in football, with games set for 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. It now remains to be seen whether the games in 2015 and beyond will still be played as scheduled, or if the ACC will decide when those games are to be played with Notre Dame’s new football plan.

Notre Dame certainly fits the mold for an ACC team, combining strong academics with talented athletic programs.

"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’s 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.

"It is our hope that, over time, we will be able to explore the possibility of academic collaboration as well as athletic competition with these outstanding universities."

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