Notre Dame to Join ACC, but Not for Football

InsideTheACC.com, TechSideline.com, on September 12, 2012
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(Official Release from the ACC)

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to accept the University of Notre Dame as a new member. The Irish will compete as full members in all conference sponsored sports with the exception of football which will play five games annually against league programs.

“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,” said the ACC Council of Presidents 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.”

“The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity,” said Atlantic Coast Conference 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 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 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.”

“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 Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame Vice President and Director of Athletics. “We are able 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.”

With the addition of Notre Dame, the ACC’s future membership includes 11 institutions ranked among the top 58 in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report survey of “America’s Best Colleges”, more than any other conference also competing at the highest level athletically.

In addition to extending an invitation to Notre Dame, the Council of Presidents voted to increase the conference exit fees to three times the annual operating budget. Currently this would equate to an exit fee of over $50 million.

End of Press Release

Here are the particulars of Notre Dame’s partnership with the ACC, gleaned from various sources:

  • Notre Dame will join the conference for all sports but football and hockey.
  • Notre Dame will play five games against ACC football teams each season. Each ACC school is guaranteed to play ND once every three years.
  • The ACC’s exit fee will be increased to $50 million, immediately. The new $50 million exit fee DOES apply to Notre Dame, immediately.
  • ND gets an equal “member share” of non-football rev., but the ACC keeps all football rev and won’t share that. Football revenue is 80% of the ACC’s television contract (per John Swofford), so Notre Dame will therefore get 1/15th of 20% of the ACC’s TV money.
  • Below the BCS bowls, Notre Dame is part of ACC’s bowl lineup. If Notre Dame is to be selected over an ACC team, they must be ranked higher and be within 1 win of that ACC team.
  • Notre Dame will receive a 1/15th share of the ACC’s non-BCS bowl revenue.
  • There is the possibility of an ACC-Notre Dame Orange Bowl. In that scenario, the ACC would keep it share of revenue, and Notre Dame would keep its share of revenue as the ACC opponent. Ditto for other BCS bowls.
  • The projection for joining is 2015-16, but Notre Dame will try to accelerate that process via negotiations with the Big East.
  • There is no need to add a 16th team, and no intent to do so, per ACC Commissioner John Swofford.
  • The five annual football games will be 3/2 split home/away for ND, followed by 2/3 the next year, etc.
  • The arrangement will not affect Notre Dame’s football contract with NBC.
  • Bringing in Notre Dame will allow ACC to ask for additional compensation in ESPN deal.
  • Notre Dame could increase ACC’s media rights from $17M per school to between $18M-$19M per school (@McMurphyESPN on Twitter).
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