The University of Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference this year, leaving the Big East Conference earlier than originally planned.
Notre Dame will become an ACC member in all sponsored sports except football on July 1, according to a joint release from Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. The South Bend, Indiana, school will remain independent for football.
Aresco called the exit agreement an “acceptable resolution,” without mentioning financial details. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that Notre Dame won’t pay a traditional exit fee, instead forgoing any claims to the roughly $70 million that the Big East has accrued in entry and exit fees from other schools.
“The Big East can now focus fully on its future alignment and rebranding efforts,” Aresco said. “Notre Dame has been a valued member of the Big East and we wish them well.”
Notre Dame said last September that it would join the ACC as soon as it could exit the Big East. That includes the school’s men’s basketball team, ranked No. 24 in this week’s Associated Press poll, and women’s basketball team, ranked No. 2 in the AP poll behind Baylor.
Swarbrick said it was important to Notre Dame that its departure come in a “collegial manner,” and he thanked the Big East for its cooperation.
The Greensboro, North Carolina-based ACC is adding Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse this year to bring membership to 15 schools for the 2013-14 season. Maryland is scheduled to leave for the Big Ten in 2014-15, and will be replaced by Louisville.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement that the five football games conference teams will play annually against the Fighting Irish won’t begin until 2014. He said the ACC will become the best basketball conference in the country.
“As we look towards the future, there’s no denying that ACC basketball will continue to set even higher standards of excitement and excellence,” Swofford said. “The competition will be brutal, which is a great thing for our league and fans.”
The ACC was able to accommodate Notre Dame because the league’s basketball schedule hasn’t been completed for the 2013-14 season, Sports Illustrated said.
The Big East last week reached an exit agreement with seven schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova -- whose top sports program is men’s basketball. The agreement clears the way for the so-called Catholic 7 to start a new league and take the conference name next season. The Big East formally approved the transfer of its name today.
The 10 schools remaining in what now constitutes the Big East, including Cincinnati and Connecticut, must come up with a new name by July 1, according to Aresco.