Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Sep 2012

ND to Join ACC, Remain Independent in Football

The University of Notre Dame has accepted an invitation from the Atlantic Coast Conference to join as a member in all sports except football. The Irish will reportedly play five football games annually against ACC teams, but remain an independent.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 12 Sep 2012

18 comments, Last at 08 Oct 2012, 12:41pm by Jericho


by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:13am

Does this make sense?

by zlionsfan :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:21am

It probably does for men's basketball; combine the conference's rep with the way the selection committee has to deal with a giant conference, and ND might steal a bid every now and then when it might not otherwise get one.

Dunno about other sports. Don't think it sets a good precedent for a future without their own TV contract, if that ever arrives. The ACC is not the football conference you want to join for that, IME.

by evenchunkiermonkey :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:22am

Yep. It preserves ND's sizable TV contract for football games while simplifying things for the athletic director for all other sports in addition to providing more revenue in Basketball broadcast $$$.

by Guido Merkens :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:35am

This is essentially the deal they currently have with the Big East, right? Obviously they aren't currently obligated to play five games against Big East teams, but now that the Big East is minor league I can see why ND wanted out. The B10 won't let ND join unless football joins too, so the ACC held a lot of power and could make the request for 5 football games per year (which should help them negotiate a favorable TV package).

It's a pretty good deal for ND as well. Yes, it restricts some of their scheduling independence, but ND has a lot of alums on the east coast, and this was the only viable way for them to remain independent in football. Plus, they join one of the top basketball conferences, which will allow ND's delusional fan base to cling to the notion that ND has elite athletics.

by Jeff M. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:57pm

Doesn't restrict it much if they get to pick the ACC teams. ND wants to play BC, Pitt, GT, Miami anyway, and certainly wouldn't mind a 5th game rotating among FSU, VT, Maryland, Syracuse, etc. Worse for ND if it has to rotate all 5 games among the whole membership, but either way they still have room to keep Navy, USC, UM, etc.

by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 2:35pm

Will it really help the ACC negotiated a good TV package football wise if at least 5 games a year are already claimed by NBC? If they Irish play all their games on NBC, and the ACC opponents can't get on a different network, then it sorta hurts the ACC, no?

by mm (old) (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 3:01pm

The ACC has the TV rights to all of the games hosted by its members.

So it would get 2.5 Notre Dame games a year (just like the Pac 12 gets 1 a year and most years the Big Ten gets 1.5).

The ACC will likely get a bump in football tv money with this agreement. Not as much as they would if ND would join as a full member, but more than they would have without the agreement.

by DevilFan (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:37am

Basically Irish jumping off the sinking Big East ship. I wonder how long this has been in negotiations. I assume this would have happened much earlier, simultaneous with the Syracuse and Pitt announcements, if not for the complications of an independent football program.

by apk3000 :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 1:25pm

The reports make it sound like the biggest reason, from ND's perspective, was getting access to the ACC's bowl tie-ins. I guess the Big East didn't stack up in that regard?

by mm (old) (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 3:10pm

One conference can offer bowl partners the possibility of getting FSU, Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and other programs that aren't as known nationally, but have solid fanbases that will travel.

The other conference can offer Louisville, UConn, Houston, and Boise State. Remember, if these are one of the 4 top teams in the country they'll be in the playoffs and not the regular bowls.

The ACC isn't the SEC or Big Ten, but to bowl partners it's far better than the Big East, and having Notre Dame added will make the an ACC partnership more valuable (though the ACC will presumably be splitting that money with Notre Dame).

by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:17am

Speculating that this might start in 2015. Irish already have Pitt, Syracuse, Wake Forest, and Boston College on the schedule. Plus Texas, Michigan, Purdue, UMass, USC, Navy, and Stanford. Room for one more ACC.

by Dean :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:31am

Most likely Miami. Lots of history between those two programs. Both ADs have said they'd love to play each other more often.

by jhagan2 :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:30am

This is a great move for Notre Dame, particularly when you consider the fact that the Big East is about to become a Frankenstein conference of dead parts collected from around the country, and with whom Notre Dame has zero affinity. The ACC is a far better fit in terms of academics, geography, men's basketball, football recruiting, and scheduling quality football opponents. The fact that Notre Dame can maintain its football independence is the cherry on top. This is a coup for the Irish, and a great addition for the ACC.

by Jericho (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 8:46pm

I think scheduling played a bigger part than people realize. People DO want to play Notre Dame. But not many of them want to play in October and November. These larger conferences are creating more conference games in those months and not making it easy on Notre Dame.

by RickD :: Thu, 09/13/2012 - 1:42am

How is that relevant? ND has gone from being a non-football school in the Big East to a non-football school in the ACC.

by Jericho (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2012 - 12:41pm

A really late reply, but its relevant because Notre Dame had to schedule a school like UMass already. It wasn't a problem in the past, but with these bloated conferences, Notre Dame is already feeling the pinch as schools have less games overall and less games in October/November. You'll notice that most out of conference games are played in September. Now that conferences are going to 9 games in conference, there's less available dates for non-conference schools.

South Bend is having a hard time filling their future schedules. It's not that no one will play them. But Notre Dame has never played a Division 1-AA team (or whatever its called today) and wants a certain standard for its opponents. Outside of a few exceptions (Army, Navy, BYU, etc...), Notre Dame essentially wants to play BCS-level schools. To do that and remain independent seems difficult. This deal should cover them, however. Stanford, Navy, and USC remain relatively flexible when they apl. Combine that with the ACC opponents and fill the beginning of the schedule with whomever else you want (Purdue, Big 12 opponent, Michigan St, etc...)

by Sophandros :: Thu, 09/13/2012 - 4:36pm

As someone else so wonderfully tweeted:

"Notre Dame will compete in the ACC in all sports except for football. Just like Duke."

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Sophandros :: Thu, 09/13/2012 - 4:36pm

As someone else so wonderfully tweeted:

"Notre Dame will compete in the ACC in all sports except for football. Just like Duke."

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.