Notre Dame to Join ACC, but Not for Football

(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).

71 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Most of the negative comments I sense come from continuing hatred of ND. It’s like putting a red flag in front of a bull. I hate ND as much as the next Hokie, but face it, ND is the grand prize in college football whether they’re good or not.

    Two things I like about the deal. One, ND is not available to any other conference. The Big 12 is already crying, and the Big Ten (11?) Is undoubtedly shaking their head. Everyone would like to have ND–the grand prize–and the ACC won. And you guys are bitching because you hate TD Jesus. Take it out on the golden domers when you play them. Short of an improbable bowl matchup this is the only way VT will ever see the Irish in the trenches on a football field–in Lane Stadium no less! Every coupla years.

    Second, the $50 million exit fee virtually guarantees no one is going anywhere. The Irish are committed by the Chinese handcuffs.

    I’ve ranted over Swofford in the past, but this will be his legacy. And it’s not a bad legacy to have.

    1. Agreed, well said.

      It seems, with a few exceptions of course, opinions are split along age lines:

      Old guys = Ecstatic
      Young guys = Hatin’

      Count me Ecstatic!

      VT ‘83

      1. I understand everything about it.

        What I have a problem with is not the fundamentals that the school was built on with your “TD Jesus” reference. It is that ND is a name, just that. Not a powerful force in sports as it once was.

        They have been stealing bowls from ACC teams in the past on the basis of being a superpower and winning x amount of games. Which, they do bring fans and a culture. But, this is positioning by the school.

        ND doesn’t care about the ACC and pretty sure there will not be a large contingent of Tech fans making any trips to head to South Bend, either.

        This is business and solidifies the ACC, for now. But, we are now in bed with a sports albatross that until it shows that it earns all of these accolades ON THE FIELD and court I will not be one that thinks this is overwhelmingly great.

        We plucked a free agent, kind of. But, not sure much changes here and does not really unify a conference, if anything, it will make it more divided. Geographically, and Socially.

        Do they even have BBQ up there???

      2. I am a really old guy, and I like it.

        VT BS ’55 MS ’57.

        Overall, I think the moves recently will make the ACC stronger, reinforcing both academics and sports.

        1. Academics and sports. All due respect, sir, but those words have grown farther from each other every year that passes.

          It is a warm blanket that all the brass of these institutions get to wrap themselves in and play this academic hierarchy, but it is all money.

          Notre Dame brings a large following and more revenue. But, unlike the SEC which brought in A&M and Mizzou, and Big 12 that brought in TCU and WVU, I am not in anyway interested in the potential additions that this league has brought into the fold.

          And, ND could really care less, they just knew they had to aline themselves with someone, and the Big Ten wanted full football membership, but weren’t going to get it.

          I don’t mean to come across crass, but just don’t think this is a real enhancement. And, I don’t believe the fans of their school will really embrace it, either. It is a lifeline that Swofford had to call.

          1. Lastly from Dennis Dodd with CBS online:

            Without the assurance that football excellence would assure it a promising postseason future, it went for the next best thing — a conference partner that would let it come in halfway and call the shots. ACC commissioner John Swofford said Notre Dame would have access to the ACC bowls going forward. If Notre Dame and an ACC team are within one game of each other for a bowl, ND gets the call.

            “In all probability”, Swofford added, Notre Dame will be among the opponents eligible to face the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl.

            Notre Dame would not have to share bowl revenue in that scenario. In the new playoff era beginning in ’14, ND is now a player with access to one of those six rotating bowls. And it’s there because football didn’t perform on the field. The Irish’s last BCS bowl was in 2006. Its last three bowl trips have been to Orlando, El Paso and Hawaii.

            “There’s no other way to create the bowl position,” a source said. “Whatever games they [ACC] have access to, those are now our options.”

            ACC dropping drawers. And, lets be honest we really are only talking about Football and Basketball with this deal.

    2. Tremendous deal for the ACC, and for ND. It cements the TV deal, locks in all conference members, and underscores the league as the pre-eminent athletic university league on the Atlantic seaboard from an academic and athletic standpoint. There is no excuse for VT not to field first rate teams in all sports in which the university competes. I don’t feel this is the case now, and the funding should increase in several sports. I’m a big Jim Weaver fan, and admire the financial and integrity management, but feel Mr. Weaver now needs to step it up in men’s and women’s basketball at a minimum.

  2. I think this is the right move. Big 12 was set to give them the same deal. Had Big 12 won, then if/when ND had to join a conference I think they would stay with the Big 12. ND can’t just keep jerking non-fball sports to different conferences. Right now, ND will improve almost all non-fball sports for the ACC. ND will improve ACC fball schedules. & best, I think ND eventually becomes a full member.

  3. ND is already playing Pitt, BC, Miamia, and Wake – there is 4 or your 5 – it is no big deal to them f they have to add one more each year like that. They are going to keep their contract – no way will they get rid of it – 16 team superconference or not; They are going stay independant and take away a good bowl from us in the very near future. This blows.

    1. BC has been a regular on their schedule (maybe not every year, but frequently). The others (Pitt, Wake, and yes scUM) are only on there for home and home dates. The idea of every ACC team guaranteed a game vs. ND every 3 years while not optimal for the conference in general, is not bad. Can you imagine the hype for the first time ND comes to the burg? Heretofore it’s been my understanding that ND would not sign a home and home agreement with VT period. This makes an ND game similar to those of teams from the Atlantic Division which we only play every 4 years or so. IMO this is a good start to what hopefully will end up with ND a full member for football in the future.

      1. Yeah, while the details of the 9-game conference schedule haven’t been finalized, I think we can expect:

        6-game divisional schedule
        1-game permanent cross division ‘rival’
        2-game rotating cross division among the remaining 6 teams.

        That would result in us playing Wake, NC State, Clemson, FSU, Maryland and Syracuse home & home over a 6 year period.

        a 3 year rotation through the ACC (assuming it has equitable home-away rotation) would result in every ACC team playing ND home & home over that same 6-year period.

        So ND basically becomes a “third division” with no other teams and no cross-division “rival” games.

        This kind of sucks for BC because they played ND more frequently than that but it’s a boon for us and other schools that ND refused to schedule in the past.

  4. My thoughts and sorry if beating a dead horse. I think there are three over-arching considerations which may be playing in this decision/effort:

    1. The already existing NBC contract which runs through 2015 (I believe). When that expires, there may be more leverage/value for an “ACC Network” with ND as a full member of the ACC than a simple renegotiation w/ NBC and ND independence

    2. When the BCS expires and the 4-team playoff starts, who knows what direction the conference expansions will take.

    3. My bet is on super conferences of 16 (+) and a no-kidding playoff system using the conference championship games as elimination games, thus forcing ND’s hand to join fully for ACC football.

    In the meantime, I view the ACC relationship with ND as a major plus which only solidifies the future of the ACC as a major broker in all collegiate sports.

  5. We’ve just joined the BIG LEAST again – isn’t this essentially the deal they had with them? This is the WORST decision the ACC could possibly make. The ACC is legitimizing an illegitimate situation with Notre Dame football. Makes me wish we’d never joined the ACC. Will we change the name to Notre Dame’s ACC? HORRIBLE decision!! It should be all or nothing.

    1. I think this is a far better deal because a) the ACC does not give up a bowl game – potentially a BCS game to ND b) the ACC will get a full slate of games against ND each and every year. It is also being reported that the ACC will be able to increase revenue from their ESPN deal as well without sacrificing football revenue to ND. .

      This is far different than the BE deal but the devil is always in the details.

      1. Change or be changed…good step in the right direction.

        I would take Rutgers/Temple next. Schiano showed RU can get the players with the right coach and they have a great school academically.

        Once we grabbed Syracuse and Pitt this makes sense. With UNCheat and MyoMy (Miami) under NCAA scrutiny and sanctions we need more pull and ND and Kelly bring this…I look forward to kicking their butts in Lane and seeing our boys in O&M in South Bend on TV prime time.

        The money will work out.

  6. I think many are missing the large scale impact of the addition of ND and the increased exit fee. This move means the ACC is going to be one of the major conferences going forward. That was still not a guarantee up until now. Having ND with a path to full conference membership, being able to renegotiate the TV deal and better bargaining power for bowls are benefits but the ACC no longer has to worry about getting left on the side in the conference arms race, this year or in years to come.

  7. What nobody seams to be mentioning is this will help the ACC get better bowls. With VT, FSU, Clemson and ND all looking strong for years to come, the ACC should be able to add back a bowl or two like the Gator Bowl. Throw in GT, potentially NC State, and if Miami and UNC ever get their act together, it means the Chick-Fil-A won’t be the only high level one we have at some point.

    1. Exactly… people are so crazy. This raises the profile of the potential teams for bowls. The bowls have the potential to get more TV money with Notre Dame as a possible team. Playing at least 5 games/year means more TV money for the ACC also… that’s 3 or 2 Notre Dame games that an ACC contract-holder gets to have. Yeah, it’s not the same deal any other school would get, but it’s not any other school to the people with the money.

  8. It’s feels like we just left a conference that had a lopsided deal with ND where they got to steal bowl bids and not pay any money into the conference coffers.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess….

    Just wait. Everyone’s all sunshine and farts now, but it won’t be long before a 9-5 VT team bound for the CFA Bowl gets usurped by a 7-5 ND team and we end up in Charlotte or Nashville instead.

    1. That may be true, however ND wasn’t contractually obliged to play 5 Big East teams per year. Having this mandate in the ACC will increase per year TV contract value at a minimum.

      1. It will be interesting to see the math that shows if the amount of money from increased TV contracts because ND graces a few teams with their presences every year ends up being more or less than them taking an entire bowl payout every year.

  9. I think some of you are missing a few things. First, ND needs to let the NBC deal run its course. At that point, ND can become a full member and add value to the ACC television package. No one has seen the new ACC media deal in full form. I suspect that is because there are provisions that kick in contingent on ND’s inclusion.

    Second, you have to understand the culture at ND. Football independence is the sacred cow there. Making an immediate jump to full football membership might cause problems. However, commiting to 5 games as a start will be tolerated. However, as with most things like this, going from 5 games to 8-9 games down the road (i.e. full football membership) isn’t that big of a leap and will be better received.

    Finally, ND has scheduling commitments years out. They need time to handle that aspect of their schedule, decide who is going to stay, who is going, etc.

  10. No one is talking about the new $50 million exit fee. I think the biggest thing about this announcement is that the ACC presidents have effectively closed the door on poaching from other conferences. ND may or may not eventually join for all sports. I think the possibility of them joining is increased, however.

    This strikes me as a positive for the ACC and ND. Does it put us in the same category as SEC? Even if ND had joined for all sports that wouldn’t have happened. But it strengthens the ACC at the bargaining table with ESPN, makes it less likely that ND will join a different conference, and solidifies the current members of the ACC.

    No, it doesn’t solve all of the problems at once. WINNING against the other major conferences in FB and BB will do most of the heavy lifting in that respect. But I don’t think FSU and Clemson will be looking to go anywhere else for awhile. And the BigEast is…even less big.

  11. I like the move. A lot. It would seem logical that football membership is just around the corner.

    The increased exit fee is a strong move and will provide the conference with a great deal of protection.

  12. I wonder if the ACC pairing up with Notre Dame, even in this limited fashion, isn’t kind of like grabbing Miami in 2004. A team in mediocrity and long time decline. While the demographics aren’t quite Miami’s, they’re not far off. And when NBC wises up (or whoever’s still watching ND dies off), they are in for a big dose of reality. But I’m fairly old (’84 Hokie) and from the Midwest, so put Notre Dame up there with Michigan and Penn State for teams I most wanted to play a home and home with.

    from the web:
    Notre Dame’s operating budget for 2011-12 is nearly $1.2 billion, and the market value of its endowment is approximately $7 billion. 8,000 Undergraduates (~120,000 alumni). Athletic finances: $83M revenue, $57M expenditures (financial data provided by the US Dept. of Education
    MIami: The private university has about 15,000 students, along with a $60-million athletics budget. Some state flagships are two or more times as big. And when it comes to raising money and filling stadium seats, Miami has a small donor base (149,000 alumni) and a city filled with entertainment options.

    1. They’ll be using the bowl placement for whatever conference they are currently in. So, still BE this year and probably next as well, as I would suspect they won’t be joining until 2014. At that point, they are part of the ACC bowl package.

  13. First blush, I am not thrilled given that ND has been allowed to hold out on Football.

    This said, I have come to understand that what gets said and committed to behind closed doors and what gets said to the press may not include the “whole story”.

    Unless ND can somehow get back to the MNC game, their ability to sustain the NBC contract will be diminished.

    And NBC isn’t the big dog in college sports. The real college football money is with ABC-ESPN, and deals like the B1G Ten Network. ND sees this handwriting on the wall which is exacerbated by their lack of competitiveness (below link). I believe their NBC contract is through 2015…not a lot of time in league restructuring terms.

    While I’d agree with those who say that the B1G Ten wouldn’t take them on these terms, I’d argue that it’s only a matter of time before they are fully integrated into the ACC. And this will be good for the ACC.

    1. I think you’re exactly right. UM. I would expect that as time goes on, we’ll see more ACC games added to ND’s schedule until the eventuall become a full member for football as well.

      This is a good day for VT and for the ACC!

  14. This is huge, you just have to be patient. Look how far things have come since 2004. We’ll have 8 team playoff and ND as a full member sooner than later. This prevents any other conference from getting them as well. Love them or hate them, they are the kings of tv.

  15. ND will have to agree to:

    1. Full membership by 2016 OR
    2. Financial agreement which gets ACC revenue from ND by 2016

    Given the dynamics of playoffs, i think ND will become a full-member in the next 4-5 years.

    1. Why would ND do that, unless the ACC forces them? There is no reason for them to join a conference. They get access to our Non BCS bowls, keep their TV rights, and play in our bball league. What would be the impetus for them to join?

      Help me understand the reasoning here…the ACC teams must:

      – Bear the cost of their BBall and Olympic sports teams travelling to South Bend every year

      – However, the schools wouldn’t benefit from the increased revenue of football because Notre Dame isn’t a member. The only increase in revenue would be when ND played in your stadium. That increase is marginal at best.

    2. If true, Swofford should have them pay a non-inclusion fee if they do not join in full by a certain time period. Say 5 years you’re either all in or pay the conference $15M to opt out. Whatever time they need to unwind their current schedule commitments.

      Doubtful they did something like that. But then again it was an unanimous vote so there must be something financially positive about it. Miami in particular doesn’t move unless there is cake.

  16. Disagree with all of the negativity. I think this is a positive for football (remember the ACC is in the football BUSINESS). Would we rather have them as a full football member, sure! But that ain’t happening any time soon. This way, we get 5 games each year (including each team playing them once every 3 years) and ND as part of the non-BCS bowl packages. This only helps with the TV contracts and bowls we can get.

    From a VT standpoint, we will get t play ND every three years? That will be great for the fans and great for our OOC schedule.

    I think this was a good move by Swofford and the ACC. Reality is that we are a weak sister relatively to some of the other conferences (sorry that is just the truth) and this makes us stronger. Maybe not as strong as we would like, but stronger.

    1. You obviously don’t remember ND and the Big East agreement, ND got to pull money out of the Big East coffers will not being full members. This situation is dumb and a bad move by the ACC unless ND comes in as full members.

      ND dangled Big East for 2 decades, got their cake and ate it too. Not a good situation in my opinion.

      This is pure desperation on the part of the ACC pure and simple.


      1. I’m with Dafhokie, though I reserve some amount of judgement until I hear how all the details (financial and scheduling) work out. But having them as part of our basketball conferences, playing a number of games against them in football each year, and having them as part of our non-BCS bowl package are all big positives for the conference. I would rather have them as full-time members, but I will take this.

  17. Clearly we want full membership or nothing but maybe this is the first step to full membership. None of us know what the intentions are long term and I would think partial membership now gives acc better chance for full down the rd.

    1. I hope to hear that this IS the first step to full membership, but if what we have here is a “hope” of full membership, well, that’s what ND dangled in front of the Big East for the past 2 decades.

      I like this news ONLY IF it leads to eventual full membership, and there’s some contract in place to achieve that.

  18. That is a CROCK…What a weak sister conference. You basketball fans may love this, and will not agree with me, but what a CROCK! This is the Big East all over again.

    Do I have to kiss the ring (that’s ALL I’m willing to kiss. I’ll leave the REAL kissing to Little Johnny)!

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