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Notre Dame Coming To The ACC

Will Be Member In All Sports Except Football

Sports Editor

Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

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.

Although Notre Dame will remain independent for football, BC head coach Frank Spaziani was still excited to hear the news about the conference’s newest member.

“Well, we have a long standing tradition with Notre Dame, and I think we have a mutual respect and appreciation for each other. We understand what a great institution it is,” Spaziani said yesterday on his weekly teleconference. “I think it’s tremendous for our league and certainly for Boston College. We play them, and now to be playing them in other sports is valuable, very valuable.”
BC had previously agreed on a contract extension with Notre Dame in football, with games set for 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. According to Associate Director of Athletics Chris Cameron, that contract will be played out. After 2019, BC will likely be put into the rotation of ACC teams that will play Notre Dame at least once every three years, if the Fighting Irish are still independent by then.

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.

BC Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo deferred The Heights’ request for comment on the matter to the ACC office.

“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. With the move, the ACC announced it has raised the exit fee to $50 million, further securing the strength of the conference.

“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 earlier this year 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.

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

“Sports has always played a very specific role at Notre Dame, it has two functions. One is to contribute to the education of students and the other is to promote the University. This partnership helps us do both effectively,” Swarbrick said. “By joining such a prestigious group of universities who share our commitment to athletics as an educational vehicle, not as something secondary to the mission of education, but as something core to it, we will further the education of our student-athletes.”
Swarbrick thanked the University’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C, for his leadership during the decision-making process. Jenkins was equally  excited for the prospect of the move and the implications it could have on Notre Dame’s future.

“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,” Jenkins said. “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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