In September of this past year, Notre Dame decided to join the conference circus around college sports and join the Atlantic Coast Conference, better known as the ACC. The Irish are scheduled to join the conference before the 2014-2015 fall seasons begin in every sport expect football. Notre Dame must pay a $5 million exit fee and give the Big East a 27 month notice of their exit. Although the Irish aren’t technically member of the ACC in football, they will play five games against the conference annually. The 2014 schedule for the Irish still has a couple open weeks which will most likely open the door for contracts to be made with ACC schools. In regards to ACC contracts, Notre Dame will have access to the Orange Bowl and all ACC affiliations in bowl games. The football program will continue traditional rivalry games (USC, Navy and Stanford), but games against long-time foes Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue are up in the air in regards to staying on the schedule.
Is the move beneficial for Notre Dame as a whole? Most would say yes. The Atlantic Coast Conference is seen by most as the most successful conference academically, and with Notre Dame having a 99 percent graduation rate this past year, the Irish will fit right in with the East Coast.
The move brings something new to the table to Notre Dame Athletics overall. The ACC doesn’t have a hockey league, but most assume the Irish will move to the Hockey East Association. The men’s hoops program led by Mike Brey will receive a fresh batch of competition including Duke, where Brey spent eight years as an assistant for legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, and would see old opponents in Pittsburgh and Syracuse on the hardwood.
With college sports turning into these so-called “super conferences”, Notre Dame’s eventual move from will be the seventh move by a school jumping from the Big East to the ACC. The college sports world is evolving very quickly. In 2014, the Bowl Championship Series will be “dead” for the fact that for the first time, Division I football will have a playoff system. In 2011, college basketball added four more teams to their tournament called the “First Four”. The college sporting world is evolving into a colossal money machine in every sport and schools are popping champagne and counting the Benjamins.