For all the sport fans out there, ESPN has been buzzing this week about a big change coming to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014. It was announced on Wednesday that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish would be joining the ACC in all sports except football starting in 2014. The fact that the Atlantic Coast Conference even agreed to this shows big change, because up until now the conference has not even considered excepting new schools, unless that school agreed to bring in all sports to the conference. However, being able to remain independent in football was the deciding factor for Notre Dame, because they have been known as an independent football team since day one.
This transition from the Big East to the ACC did not come cheap for the Fighting Irish. Reporters say that the Irish will have to pay a five million dollar exit fee, as well as notify the Big East at least 27 months in advance. Hence, the change will not take place until 2014. However, this five million dollar fee is nothing compared to the 7.5 million dollar fee Pittsburgh and Syracuse had to pay to leave their conference and join the ACC. However, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will officially be members of the ACC a full year earlier, starting in 2013.
Nonetheless, Notre Dame’s athletic director, Jack Swarbrick, feels there is no better conference than the ACC for his school. He said, “The ACC has allowed us to retain a tradition (of football independence) that’s so central to our identity in football while we’re joining a conference that athletically as well as academically fits Notre Dame perfectly.”
As I have previously mentioned, Notre Dame is not the only new addition coming to the Atlantic Coast Conference in the next few years. With other schools like Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining as well, the Atlantic Coast Conference has a bright, competitive future ahead of them. Personally, I cannot wait to see how these positive changes affect the other schools that have been long-term members of the ACC. One thing is for certain, there is going to be some tough competition ahead.