Brett McMurphy is reporting Notre Dame will leave the Big East to join the ACC as a full member, with the exception of football and hockey. The school may negotiate a departure in advance of the 27-month deadline. Notre Dame will play five football games against ACC opponents per year.
The move makes sense. The Big East is unstable. The more well-founded ACC is the most natural destination, as the Big Ten would have made joining in football contingent on membership. It will be a much better basketball conference. Regular trips to BC, UNC, and Duke were probably more appealing to them than SMU and Memphis. The move is especially curious, as it comes in the midst of ESPN’s exclusive negotiation window for a new TV contract with the Big East. Not impressed with the money on the table?
As for football scheduling, it is not really that much of a change. Notre Dame played BC, Maryland, Wake Forest and Pitt in 2011. They play BC, Wake Forest, Pitt and Miami in 2012. Should this go into effect after 2013, Notre Dame already has Pitt and Syracuse scheduled for 2014 and Pitt, Syracuse and Wake Forest scheduled for 2015. This gives Notre Dame a set block of games they don’t need to worry about scheduling, without altering their football MO too much. This will be helpful, especially late in the season, with teams moving to nine-game conference schedules.
This also quells any probably conference realignment. The ACC increased exit fees to around $50 million, which should preclude any notion of Florida State, Clemson and Miami departing for the Big 12. Notre Dame was the only real appealing target for the Big Ten. Connecticut, hoping to be the balancing team if Notre Dame joined a conference in football, is likely stuck in the Big East.
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