CHAPEL HILL—Colleges in the Atlantic Coast Conference will get some new competition.
On Wednesday in Chapel Hill, the ACC Council of Presidents voted to accept Notre Dame as a new member. The Irish will join the conference in every sport except football and hockey. Notre Dame is the third team in the past year to join the ACC from the Big East conference.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced the Fighting Irish are joining the conference Wednesday. He called the deal a win-win.
"The ACC was founded on the corner stones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity and the addition of Notre Dame only strengthens this long standing commitment that this league has," said Swofford.
The partnership that created buzz around UNC Chapel Hill's campus.
"Athletics and academics do go hand and hand in the ACC and Notre Dame definitely brings that same mentality to it," said UNC sophomore Will Patrick.
Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins said the deal allows them to maintain a tradition that is so key to their identity in football. The plan does require the university to play five football games against ACC teams.
"We didn't feel we could give that up without losing our identities in some way. We're just deeply grateful to the ACC who have been such great partners in recognizing that. I just want to say emphatically and clearly, with that aside, we're all in the ACC,” said Jenkins.
Notre Dame will join the ACC's non-BCS bowl package. Swofford said the Irish will also be able to play against the ACC teams in the Orange Bowl.
Swofford said he has no intention of adding a 16th team to the conference. The deal with Notre Dame is set to begin during the 2015-2016 season, but the university is looking into expediting their obligations with the Big East to begin competing in the ACC even earlier.
ACC Press Release
The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to accept the University of Notre Dame as a new member. The Irish will compete as full members in all conference sponsored sports with the exception of football which will play five games annually against league programs.
"We are committed to keeping the Atlantic Coast Conference a vibrant and competitive league dedicated to ensuring the appropriate balance of academics, athletics and integrity," said the ACC Council of Presidents in a joint statement. "The addition of Notre Dame further strengthens the rich tradition and culture of the ACC as well as allowing for future academic collaboration and we enthusiastically welcome them into the league."
"The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity," said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford. "Our partnership with Notre Dame only strengthens this long-standing commitment. Notre Dame enhances the league's unique blend of public and private institutions that are international in scope. 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 and showcases tremendous solidarity and vision by our Council of Presidents."
"The ACC is composed of some of the most highly respected universities in the country, and we at Notre Dame look forward to joining them," said Notre Dame President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. "With a mix of institutions - many of which are also private, similar to Notre Dame in size, and committed to excellence in research and undergraduate education - the ACC is an exceptionally good fit for us academically, as well as athletically."
"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," said Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame Vice President and Director of Athletics. "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."
With the addition of Notre Dame, the ACC's future membership includes 11 institutions ranked among the top 58 in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report survey of "America's Best Colleges", more than any other conference also competing at the highest level athletically.
In addition to extending an invitation to Notre Dame, the Council of Presidents voted to increase the conference exit fees to three times the annual operating budget. Currently this would equate to an exit fee of over $50 million.
About the Atlantic Coast Conference:
The Atlantic Coast Conference is now in its 60th year of competition, the ACC has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. Since the league's inception in 1953, ACC schools have captured 127 national championships, including 67 in women's competition and 60 in men's. In addition, NCAA individual titles have gone to ACC student-athletes 145 times in men's competition and 104 times in women's action. For more information, visit theACC.com.