MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Big East will lose one of its most recognizable institutions as Notre Dame announced Wednesday that it will move all of its teams, except football, to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Notre Dame’s football team will remain officially an independent, but will play five games annually against ACC programs. According to the South Bend Tribune, each ACC member is guaranteed to play Notre Dame in football once every three years.
Landing Notre Dame is a coup for the ACC as both the Big Ten and Big XII have long wanted to add the Fighting Irish to their leagues.
Not only did the ACC extend Notre Dame an invitation to join the conference, but they also upped exit fees for any team looking to leave the ACC to more than $50 million.
Notre Dame’s membership in the Big East had been tenuous after the last round of conference realignment that saw the Southeastern Conference expand along with the Big Ten and Pac-12.
The exact timing of the move is still being decided. Current Big East bylaws force teams to give a 27 month notice of intent to leave the conference without penalty. That would put Notre Dame’s exit at roughly 2015, or one year after the new college football playoff starts.
However, other former Big East members like TCU and West Virginia have negotiated buyouts and left the conference much sooner than the 27 month rule requirement.
Notre Dame’s football team has long refused to join a conference and has been given a seat at the table for the BCS and the new playoff, despite not being in a conference. Notre Dame also has an exclusive television contract for football with NBC.
The ACC recently signed on to a new exclusive TV deal with ESPN that pays each school roughly $17 million per season. So, the Notre Dame/NBC and ACC/ESPN deals will have to be dealt with in the near future.
The move by Notre Dame also should finally put to rest any possibility of a move to another conference by Florida State. Earlier this year, rumors ran rampant that FSU was considering a move to the Big XII. With Notre Dame playing a partial ACC schedule, it will help elevate the ACC back into the power conference discussion.
Notre Dame will be warming up for the ACC this season when it welcomes the University of Miami to Soldier Field in Chicago for a game.