Notre Dame leaving Big East for ACC

3:52 PM, Sep 12, 2012   |    comments
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South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Notre Dame has become the latest big-name school to exit the Big East and will join the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports, except football.

It's another coup for the ACC and another blow to the changing Big East.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced plans last September to join the ACC and will do so next year after working out an early exit from the Big East. West Virginia also moved from the Big East to the Big 12 this year, but only after a threat of legal action led to an exit agreement.

The Big East usually requires a 27-month notice of departure, and Notre Dame has said it will work with both conferences on a timetable to transfer 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," said Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick in Wednesday's statement. "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."

While Notre Dame will remain independent in football, the new partnership will include the Fighting Irish playing five ACC opponents each year and each conference member at least once every three years.

Notre Dame had been a Big East member in most sports but football since 1995. The men's hockey team had been part of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and will move to Hockey East next year.

"We are immensely grateful to the members of the Big East, which has been a wonderful home for us the past 17 years," Swarbrick added. "We also think that the conference has a strong future under the leadership of its new commissioner, Mike Aresco."

The Big East is a conference in transition, but reinforcements are already on the way to replace West Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and now, Notre Dame.

Temple has rejoined the league in football this fall and will become a full conference member for 2013-14. Boise State and San Diego State were added as football-only members with Memphis, Central Florida, Houston and SMU joining for all sports starting in 2013-14. Navy will also join for football in 2015.

There had long been speculation that if Notre Dame were to change conferences, it would move to the Big Ten with its natural rivalries based in the Midwest. Instead, the Irish will move to a southern-based league that has gradually extended its footprint northward.

"Notre Dame enhances the (ACC's) unique blend of public and private institutions that are international in scope," said ACC commissioner John Swofford. "The collective alumni and fan bases cover the entire country with exceptionally strong roots up and down the Atlantic Coast. This is a terrific milestone in the evolution of the ACC and showcases tremendous solidarity and vision by our Council of Presidents."

The addition of Notre Dame will give the ACC 15 members, leaving room for further expansion. It also marks the sixth former Big East member to leave for the ACC, as Miami-Florida, Virginia Tech and Boston College all previously made the move before Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

The ACC also said it was raising the exit fee for conference members to three times the league's annual operating budget, equating to more than $50 million.

Georgia Tech quotes on Notre Dame:

Athletic Director Dan Radakovich
"This is truly a great day for the Atlantic Coast Conference and for Georgia Tech. We are delighted to be joined by such a prestigious and respected institution such as Notre Dame. From so many angles, this relationship will enhance the rich tradition of our league and provide new and exciting opportunities for Georgia Tech and the ACC. I know Tech fans and sports fans throughout the region look forward to outstanding competition against the Irish for many years to come."

Baseball Coach Danny Hall
"Notre Dame is a great addition to what is already one of the premier conferences in the country for baseball. They have a rich baseball tradition and it will be exciting to have them in the ACC."

Women's Tennis Coach Rodney Harmon
"Notre Dame is a great addition to the ACC. They are a first-class institution and have a great tradition in women's tennis. They will make conference play that much tougher. The ACC is arguably the deepest women's tennis conference in the country now."

Women's Basketball Coach MaChelle Joseph
"With the addition of Notre Dame to the ACC, there is no doubt we have just become the most competitive conference in women's basketball. The ACC is out front once again in our ability to attract the best academic institutions to our league."

Men's Basketball Coach Brian Gregory
"Notre Dame is a tremendous addition to the ACC, a school of long-standing tradition of athletics, and it matches us perfectly in terms of academic prestige in this conference. This also gets us into another major market - the Chicago market - and the ACC brand will continue to spread.

"This solidifies us as the best and deepest basketball conference in the country with the success that Mike Brey has been able to establish with Notre Dame basketball. They add another power program to our league. He is one of the best and most well-respected coaches in terms of how he runs his program.

"The leadership of the ACC has done it again. I think they hit a home run."

Golf Coach Bruce Heppler
"It's great to have an association with such a wonderful academic institution."

Softball Coach Sharon Perkins
"From a softball standpoint I am thrilled to bring in another strong team into the ACC. If you look at last year's NCAA Tournament, seven of the future ACC teams made up the 64-team field. From a sports fan's perspective adding Notre Dame to the ACC is huge. They fit in with all of our schools as they compete athletically at a high level, while holding the highest academic integrity."

Cross Country and Track - "Notre Dame is an outstanding university and we welcome them into the ACC family. Over the years we have competed in South Bend for both cross country and indoor track and they have many times competed on our campus at our outdoor track invitational in May. They have quality programs in our sports and will add a lot to the ACC."

Football - Georgia Tech and Notre Dame have a long and storied series history in football... The two teams have met 34 times on the gridiron with the Fighting Irish owning a 27-6-1 series advantage... Tech won the last meeting, 33-3, in 2007 in South Bend... The two teams first met in 1922 and have met every decade since... In the movie, Rudy, the Notre Dame walk-on sees his first and only action in a game against Georgia Tech... Running back Dorsey Levens was a standout at Georgia Tech before transferring and having success at Notre Dame.

Men's Basketball - Georgia Tech has won six out of the eight all-time meetings on the hardwood including a streak of four straight wins... the last meeting was a 70-69 Yellow Jacket victory on Nov. 19, 2007 in the Paradise Jam, in the Virgin Islands... the two teams first met on the hardwood in 1941.

Women's Basketball - Tech has played Notre Dame just once previously, a 76-69 loss to the Irish in Atlanta on Nov. 29, 1996.

Baseball - Georgia Tech has won six of the 10 all-time meetings... the two teams haven't met on the diamond since the Yellow Jackets swept a two-game series in Atlanta in 1996... the Yellow Jackets and Irish have never played previously in South Bend.

Women's Tennis - Georgia Tech is 5-2 all-time against Notre Dame and will play the Irish twice this spring. The Jackets and Irish have met every year since 2007.

Volleyball - Georgia Tech and Notre Dame have only met twice in history and the all-time series is tied 1-1. The last meeting came on Oct. 13, 1995 when the Yellow Jackets defeated then-No. 8 Notre Dame, 3-2, in Atlanta. The Irish won the teams' first meeting on Sept. 7, 1994, sweeping Tech 3-0 in Southbend, Ind.

Softball - Tech is 0-3 all-time vs. Notre Dame. The last meeting was on Feb. 29, 2004 in Columbus, Ga. at the NFCA Leadoff Classic when the Irish defeated Tech, 2-1. Both teams finished the 2012 season receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and Notre Dame was also receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll.

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