In what is equal parts a shot across the bow of the Big East and a huge jolt to the future of the ACC, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish announced on Wednesday that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will join the ACC as a full member in all sports except football and hockey.
While the school will not be an ACC football member, it did agree to play five games annually against ACC teams in football. Syracuse and Notre Dame already have a series planned for 2014 to 2017.
For those complaining about the ACC's recent TV deal (Hi Florida State!), they'll be pleased to know that the addition of Notre Dame means that deal can now be re-negotiated.
Meanwhile, the ACC also raised its exit fee to $50 million (!!!) basically ensuring that no one is going anywhere anytime soon (Hi Florida State!). That's fine by us and great news in terms of making sure Notre Dame doesn't get cold feet a few years from now. And when their independent football status no longer becomes tenable (which will happen eventually), they'll join the ACC in full.
The move is good news/bad news for UConn and Rutgers. Technically, the ACC will now have 15 member schools. However, since the Irish won't be playing football in the conference, it remains to be seen if it feels the need to add a 16th for the sake of basketball.
One thing I'm sure not many folks will be talking about is what this means for ACC Lacrosse. Already including Duke, UNC, Virginia and Maryland, it's about to get Syracuse and Notre Dame as well. That will give the ACC enough teams for AQ status and basically kills the Big East lacrosse conference.
Basketball-wise, the ACC gets a solid program and one with instant rivalry status with Syracuse, BC and Pitt.
Of course, the ACC missed out on the crown jewel, which is football. But getting five games a year against the Irish is still a pretty big concession. Notre Dame gets what they want while the ACC gets to see Notre Dame on conference schedules regularly. The Irish were already set to play Syracuse and BC and will likely continue to do so. However, getting the Irish to visit Clemson or North Carolina or Miami is going to be a key part of the deal as well.
In a way, Notre Dame's only issue is that they've basically got their football schedule set in stone from here on out. You've got five ACC games, Michigan, Michigan State, USC, Navy and Army on a yearly basis. That only leaves room for two more, so expect to see some of those traditional games like Stanford and Purdue go by the wayside.
This is very good news for the Orange across the board and helps calm any lingering fears SU fans had about the impending move. As for the Big East...sorry, fellas. Nothing personal.