Sept. 12, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame accepted an invitation today (Sept. 12) to become a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in all sports except football.
Most Notre Dame athletics programs have been members of the Big East Conference since 1995 after previously competing in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, North Star Conference and as independents. Jack Swarbrick, vice president and director of athletics at Notre Dame, said the University will work with the Big East and ACC on a timetable to transfer athletic membership.
"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," Swarbrick said. "This will enable us 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.
"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," Father Jenkins said. "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." Father Jenkins added: "It is our hope that, over time, we will be able to explore the possibility of academic collaboration as well as athletic competition with these outstanding universities."
As part of the partnership with the ACC, Notre Dame has agreed to annually play five ACC opponents in football and each conference member at least once every three years.
"This approach allows us to help promote ACC football while maintaining our traditional rivalries and a national schedule," said Swarbrick, who added that Notre Dame will be a part of the ACC's non-BCS bowl package.
"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," the ACC Council of Presidents said 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 move to the ACC does not affect Notre Dame's longstanding partnership with NBC Sports. The change in affiliation is "essentially revenue neutral," Swarbrick said. "Financial implications were not a motivation."