Notre Dame to join ACC for 2013-14 seasons

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The University of Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference ahead of schedule, joining the conference for the upcoming 2013-14 season. They’ll leave the Big East Conference after this school year, where they’ve been members since 1995.

The Irish will leave the conference at the same time as the seven non-football playing schools, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova, with a departure date set for July 1.

“From the time of our decision to join the ACC we have stressed our commitment to ensuring that our departure was achieved in a collegial manner,” Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick said. “This agreement realizes that intention and we are very grateful to the members of the Big East and Commissioner Mike Aresco for helping to facilitate this orderly and timely transition.”

The Big East also released a statement this morning, with the conference calling the agreement amicable and mutually respectful.

“This decision makes sense for the BIG EAST,” said Aresco.  “In view of Notre Dame’s expressed desire to join the ACC on an earlier timetable, the BIG EAST and Notre Dame were able to arrive at an acceptable resolution. The BIG EAST can now focus fully on its future alignment and rebranding efforts. I want to thank the Notre Dame administration and Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick for their efforts in moving toward this orderly transition.  Notre Dame has been a valued member of the BIG EAST and we wish them well.”

It’s quite the year of transition for the university’s sports programs. While the football team won’t begin its five-game scheduling agreement with the ACC yet, the rest of its athletic programs, with the exception of hockey, will begin preparing for life in the ACC, a conference widely acknowledged to be stronger in Olympic sports. The hockey program will also take a step forward, joining Hockey East next season.

Notre Dame’s departure from the Big East won’t cost the school financially, as they departed under a clause that eliminated any exit fee. While they’ll likely forgo any claim to the $70 million the Big East has accumulated, that money will be under contest for quite some times, with litigation pending between schools caught in the wash of realignment.

The ACC will now have 15 basketball schools, with Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the conference for next season as well.