Atlantic Coast Conference welcomes Notre Dame

Football isn't part of the deal
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, left, speaks as Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford listens during a news conference at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Notre Dame comes as close as it ever has in surrendering its independence in football, agreeing to play five games against the Atlantic Coast Conference every year and joining the burgeoning league in all other sports.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Notre Dame got everything it wanted and the Atlantic Coast Conference got Notre Dame.


The school announced Wednesday that it would join the ACC in all the conference’s sports except football, though it will play five games annually against league programs and have access to its non-BCS bowl tie-ins.

It’s unclear exactly when the Irish will leave the Big East for its non-football sports.

“I don’t think there’s out there a better situation than the situation we have,” said the Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president.

“The ACC has allowed us to retain a tradition (of football independence) that’s so central to our identity in football while we’re joining a conference that athletically as well as academically fits Notre Dame perfectly.”

Jenkins and athletic director Jack Swarbrick attended a news conference Wednesday at North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium.

Notre Dame will play each ACC member at least once every three seasons.

The move will alleviate some of the challenges for a football independent of scheduling games and finding bowl openings with conference tie-ins gobbling up spots.

The ACC made an exception to its all-or-nothing requirement for schools to be full members and equally share revenue to get a deal done.

And Swarbrick said the ACC was the only conference Notre Dame entered into “substantive discussion” about joining.


• Notre Dame will remain independent in football, meaning it can keep all the money from its contract with NBC.

• Notre Dame, which has no bowl affiliation the next two seasons if it does not qualify for the BCS, will have access to the ACC’s non-BCS bowls. The bowls cannot select Notre Dame over an ACC team unless the Irish are ranked higher in the BCS standings or are within one victory of that ACC team.

• Notre Dame will play five football games annually against ACC teams, playing each team every three years. It will mean an end to Notre Dame’s annual games with Pittsburgh and Boston College.

• The ACC increased its exit fees for league schools to three times the annual operation budget, more than $50 million.