By Erik Matuszewski
NEW YORK - The University of Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference in all league-sponsored sports except football.
The Fighting Irish will remain independent in football but will play five games annually against schools in the league.
Notre Dame will join the ACC as soon as it can exit the Big East Conference. While the Big East typically requires schools to pay a $5 million exit fee and give 27-month notice before leaving, the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University agreed to $7.5 million cash buyouts in July to terminate their membership and join the ACC in 2013.
“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,” Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. “We are able 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.”
The University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke University, Florida State, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, the University of Miami, Clemson University, the University of Maryland, Wake Forest University, Georgia Tech and Boston College are the other current members of the ACC.
“Notre Dame enhances the league’s unique blend of public and private institutions that are international in scope,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said. “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.”
In addition to losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the Big East had Texas Christian University and West Virginia depart for the Big 12 conference, while Temple University joined this year.
After Pittsburgh and Syracuse leave in 2013, the Big East will add Boise State University and San Diego State in football, and Southern Methodist University, the University of Memphis, the University of Central Florida and the University of Houston in all sports. The U.S. Naval Academy will join the conference in football in 2015.
Notre Dame had joined the Big East for the 1995-96 season.
“Notre Dame’s departure does not change our plans,” Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “We have prestigious institutions that are excited to be a part of the Big East. We remain committed to making the Big East stronger than it has ever been.”