Notre Dame is leaving the Big East to become a member in a full member of the ACC in all sports except football and hockey. As part of the agreed upon move, Notre Dame will also agree to play five football games every year against ACC opponents. Every ACC team will get at least one game against Notre Dame in a three year period. Also tucked into the Notre Dame agreement was a decision by the ACC to increase the exit fee to three-times the operating revenue from the conference (approximately $50 million).
This is obviously a big blow to the Big East. Losing Notre Dame in non-football sports just as the conference is about to go to the open market to negotiate a new television contract can only hurt. There are some who will see this move being announced just two weeks into the Big East's 60-day exclusive negotiating window as purely coincidental. I'm not one of those people. The Big East's bowl lineup, the new format of the postseason beginning in 2014, the league's new members scheduled to join next year were all known for months. This move being announced now was done for one reason.
Perhaps the only silver lining in this move is that one motive reportedly driving Notre Dame to this decision was a fear over continuing to fill a fully independent schedule in the future. If that's the case, perhaps the Big East can re-approached BYU football with the same concern and convince the school to give Big East football another look. Dan Wetzel reports that this was the primary factor in the move:
Athletic director Jack Swarbrick huddled over and over with his staff and tried to play out how the Irish would fill out their 12-game schedule in the years and decades to come, a Notre Dame source said.That, more than any other factor, led to Wednesday's announcement that Notre Dame would join the ACC in all sports except football, according to the source.
If so, today's loss could be mitigated some by a boost to the football side, no matter how bad it is today.