Maryland Leaves the ACC, How is Notre Dame Affected?


Oct. 8, 2011; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick, left, talks with head coach Brian Kelly after Notre Dame defeated the Air Force Falcons 59-33 at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

Maryland announced on Monday that it would spurn the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big Ten Conference. This leaves the ACC with 14 members in 2014 including newcomers Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. However, the Fighting Irish are only a partial member. The number is actually 13 teams for football, which is the highest revenue generating sport. Therefore, the question begs to be asked whether or not the ACC will add another member now or in the near future.

The USA Today reported in an article that UConn and Louisville could be options to join the ACC now. Both of these options would be excellent fits for the basketball. Currently, Louisville appears to be an excellent choice for football as well. The Cardinals are ranked 20th in football and the best in Big East. But, Head Coach Charlie Strong will probably move on after this season. The Huskies are currently 4-6 under Randy Edsall.

Either option is solid but is not a slam dunk. Football and television markets drive these moves. Louisville and UConn are powerhouse football programs. It would probably be advantageous for the ACC to wait for a better option but that could jeopardize their future.

Mike Brey told the South Bend Tribune, “Is the ACC stable? Are we OK or what are we doing here? Interesting times.”

Florida State has been rumored to be leaving the ACC for the Big 12 back in the summer. Now, those rumors will undoubtedly continue as Maryland exits the ACC for the Big 10 and battles the conference over the $50 million dollar exit fee.

What are Notre Dame’s options if the Seminoles spring for the Big 12? The first option could be for the Fighting Irish to follow suit. There were several rumors this summer that Notre Dame would also join the Big 12. Although this move would not be as aesthetically pleasing to fans, it would allow the Fighting Irish maintain its football independence indefinitely. All other moves seem to point to joining a conference permanently as a football member.

However, Notre Dame may be a new bigger bargaining chip for teams looking to switch conferences. Likewise, it might be just as big in convincing Florida State to stay. The revenue that Notre Dame can generate for a team like Florida State is enormous. Convincing a new member to join my be easier because they realize that they would be able to play Notre Dame at least once every three years.

What seemed like a slam dunk move by Jack Swarbrick in the fall has now become a bit more murky. It definitely was the correct move but no one knows what the future will hold for the Fighting Irish and their independence is at stake. This is the most vital piece of the Notre Dame puzzle right now. No alumni or fan of the University wants to see Notre Dame lose what is at the very heart of their essence.