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Notre Dame

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Way clear for Irish move to ACC in July

Notre Dame made a smooth transition from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The university announced Tuesday it will join the ACC in all sports except football and hockey on July 1. The announcement came after a vote by Big East presidents.

Notre Dame had already made its intentions of joining the ACC known Sept. 12, but the Irish had anticipated playing one more season in the Big East.

That plan changed when the Big East dissolved with the Catholic 7 – DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova – announcing Friday it would split from the conference’s football-playing schools and form its own league.

“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 athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a news release. “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.”

Notre Dame’s decision to join the ACC for next season was first reported by Sports Illustrated late Monday.

The Irish’s agreement to leave the Big East before the end of the 27-month notice they are required to give will be similar to the deal the Catholic 7 made with the conference, according to reports.

Notre Dame will not have to pay an early-exit fee, reported at $2.5 million, because it will not seek any of the Big East’s exit and entrance fee revenue of about $110 million, ESPN reported. A person familiar with the negotiations last week told The Associated Press the Big East’s football members, which do not include Notre Dame, will receive a payment of about $100 million from the conference and NCAA men’s basketball tournament funds, with the bulk of the money going to holdover members Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida.

Notre Dame’s split from the Big East after 18 years was reached through “amicable and mutually respectful discussions” between the institutions, according to a statement from the Big East.

“This decision makes sense for the Big East,” Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said in the statement. “The Big East can now focus fully on its future alignment and rebranding efforts.”

The ACC already made plans to bring Notre Dame into the conference, announcing a scheduling format Oct. 3 for when the Irish as well as Pittsburgh and Syracuse join the conference.

Pitt and Syracuse were already set to leave the Big East and join the ACC after this season.

The ACC, which will be up to 15 members next season, will go to an 18-game conference schedule for men’s basketball. Teams will play a home-and-home series with two partners every season and play the 14 other games with two home-and-away rotating opponents and five home-only and five road-only games.

Notre Dame’s permanent home-and-home series partners are Boston College and Georgia Tech.

On the women’s side a 16-game schedule will be used. Scheduling partners have not been determined.

Also, the Irish will play five football games against ACC programs every year starting in 2014 as part of their agreement to join the conference.

The Irish hockey team will move from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to Hockey East starting in the 2013-14 season.

The Catholic 7, which is expected to add Butler and Xavier as well as possibly Creighton, issued a statement Tuesday that said it would keep the Big East name and “details about the expected broadcast media deal, season-ending tournament and additional members of the new conference will be announced in the near future.”

ESPN reported the new Big East will receive a multiyear deal from the Fox Sports Network worth at least $3 million per school.

The current Big East, which will need to change its name by July 1, will have 10 schools remaining – Cincinnati, Connecticut, Central Florida, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, SMU, Temple and South Florida.

But the league will lose two schools when Louisville departs for the ACC and Rutgers leaves for the Big Ten in 2014.

Tulane and East Carolina are scheduled to join in 2014, and Navy in 2015.

tkrausz@jg.net

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