Report: Notre Dame to leave Big East
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
It appears it's happening again.
The now-beleaguered Big East Conference has apparently received another body blow today from the Atlantic Coast Conference, as Notre Dame will reportedly join the ACC in all sports except for football.
The story was first reported by ESPN's Brett McMurphy.
According to the report, the Fighting Irish would join the league in all sports, and remain an independent in football - but also play a minimum of five ACC football teams every year. ND would look to depart the league as soon as possible, although Big East by-laws dictate a 27-month waiting period in order for any school to leave. Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia were able to leave the Big East in the past year - prior to their scheduled departure date - by paying a higher exit fee.
“The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity,” Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford said in a release from the league. “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."
"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, in a statement released by the conference. "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."
“The University of the Notre Dame has informed us that it is joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports other than football," said Mike Aresco, Big East commissioner, in reaction to the move. "Notre Dame has been a valued member of the Big East Conference and we wish them success in the future. However, Notre Dame’s departure does not change our plans. We have prestigious institutions that are excited to be a part of the Big East. We remain committed to making the Big East stronger than it has ever been.”
And this from Providence College, from athletic director Bob Driscoll: “While we are disappointed by today’s news of Notre Dame leaving the Big East Conference, we understand that conference realignment is part of today’s collegiate landscape. We have been through this scenario in the past, and came out strong. With the outstanding leadership in the conference office led by Commissioner Mike Aresco, the Big East Conference will continue to be one of the premier athletic conferences in the nation.”
The move is a stunning blow to the Big East, after attaining a measure of stability through the addition of seven new schools in recent expansion, and gaining a national footprint with schools west of the Mississippi River. Additionally, the move could drastically affect the currently on-going television negotiations with ESPN and other networks expected to bid on league media rights.
The ACC does not offer hockey, so it is presumed that Notre Dame will go through with its planned move to Hockey East in that sport.
Notre Dame has long maintained a preference for their Olympic and non-revenue sports to remain in the Big East, until this change of mind.