RALEIGH -- The ACC is having discussions with Notre Dame about becoming the league's 12th member, with concessions to allay the school's concern about giving up its lucrative independent status in football in the near future.
Sources inside and outside the league told the Charlotte Observer that ACC commissioner John Swofford has expressed a willingness to have the Fighting Irish join the ACC as a partial member within the next year or two.
Two options under discussion have Notre Dame becoming a full member in all sports but football, as long as the Fighting Irish:
-- Schedule a certain number of football games -- at least three each season -- against ACC teams. That would give the ACC the inside track should Notre Dame eventually decide to abandon its football independence.
-- Commit to becoming a full football member within a certain timeframe, most likely within the next decade.
The ACC also has had discussions with NBC about Notre Dame's potential addition, sources said. NBC has a deal worth roughtly $8.5 million annually to televise Notre Dame home games.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame has had membership discussions with the 11-school Big Ten, too.
Sources close to Notre Dame say the Big Ten hasn't pushed the football issue as hard as the ACC, although it also ultimately would want Notre Dame to become its 12th football member.
Under NCAA legislation, conferences must have 12 schools to stage a football title game capable of earning $10 million or more. The ACC has sought to have that rule changed to allow 10-team leagues to stage a title game but isn't optimistic.
In the current wave of Division I-A expansion, triggered this summer when the ACC lured Miami and Virginia Tech away from the Big East beginning in 2004-05, Notre Dame is the top catch because of its worldwide popularity and consistently high television ratings.
However, Notre Dame's exclusive deal with NBC expires after the 2005 season, as does the Bowl Championship Series agreement that parcels out eight $13 million bowl bids each season. Notre Dame is the only independent school to have an at-large agreement with the BCS.
Those two expiring contracts are only part of the reason the ACC believes the climate could be right for Notre Dame to consider abandoning its long-cherished football independence.
Other factors include the escalating costs of running an athletic department; a potentially long rebuilding project under second-year football coach Tyrone Willingham, whose 2003 team is 1-2; and a down economy that has college football leaders pessimistic about the next round of television negotiations.
Swofford has polled ACC presidents and chancellors and found enough support to pursue Notre Dame -- but only Notre Dame.
Three current ACC members blocked Swofford's attempts this summer to turn the ACC into a 12-team league, but one of those schools, N.C. State, has indicated it would support the addition of Notre Dame.
N.C. State Chancellor Marye Anne Fox is a 1969 Notre Dame graduate and a member of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees, and it was her surprising stance in late June that led to the ACC's unexpected growth to 11 teams.
Weeks earlier, the ACC had appeared to be on course to become a 12-team league, adding Miami, Boston College and Syracuse over opposition from Duke and North Carolina. ACC rules require seven of nine members to support the addition of any school, but Virginia -- out of loyalty to Virginia Tech -- joined UNC and Duke in opposition.
With Virginia switching to a "yes" vote, the ACC then seemed on the verge of inviting Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College until Fox decided to support the additions only of Miami and Virginia Tech, leaving open the possibility of Notre Dame eventually becoming the 12th member.
Notre Dame wont go through with it.They turned down the Big Ten a couple years ago and its all about money and automatic bowl bids. Heck,in a couple of years they will be the only Division 1-A independent team left standing.They are just to stubborn.To me, they belong in the Big Ten.
If I remember correctly (and I probably don't), Notre Dame wasn't supposed to be a bad Big East basketball team. I can't say I remember how they did last year, but the hype was that they wouldn't be horrible.
That being said, they belong in the Big 10, if anywhere. Just put Marshall in the ACC.
As an alum of a Big 10 school, the last thing I want to see are those elitist buttwipes soil the sanctity of our conference. They had their chance when we invited them to join in 1999 and decided overwhelmingly to turn their noses up at us because: a) they worried about becoming a REGIONAL school and not a NATIONAL powerhouse and b) they think their Catholic identity would be compromised (yeah, like all the athletes attend because of the spiritual guidance they receive- please).
Those reasons will forever be their excuse for joining ANY conference (though I wonder why they would even want in the Big 10 after the whoopings they took from Michigan and Michigan State)...
This actually contradicts reports coming out of northeast; which has the Big East expanding to 16 at its November meetings, with DePaul, Marquette, Cinci and Louisville joining the Big East, with Cinci and Louisville being football schools and the Conference splitting into 8 team Basketball divisions based on East/West. The Divisions would be East: Providence (if they survive their non-conference schedule this year, they might be dangerous, but that's another topic), Boston College, Syracuse, UConn, St. John's, Seton Hall, SUNJ, Georgetown. The West would be: Notre Dame, DePaul, Marquette, Cinci, Louisville, Pitt, Villanova, West Virginia.
As for ND joining the ACC in football, its doubtful they could do it this decade. The schedule through I believe 2008 or 2009 has already been made.
(edited by redsoxnation on 25.9.03 1126) Time to do a Red Sox pennant chase supply list: Arsenic: check. Cyanide: check. Booze: check. Fully loaded gun for full chamber Russian Roulette: check. Ok, I'm prepared, let the pennant race commence.
If the ACC was serious about maintaining what little geographic and historical integrity remaining, they'd try to bring South Carolina back or to pick West Virginia off of the heap. Notre Dame makes no sense, much like Syracuse and Boston College made no sense.
Originally posted by GrimisIf the ACC was serious about maintaining what little geographic and historical integrity remaining, they'd try to bring South Carolina back or to pick West Virginia off of the heap. Notre Dame makes no sense, much like Syracuse and Boston College made no sense.
Yeah, SC or WV would be good.
SC, a former and charter member of the ACC. WV, a MD, and VA (VT too?) rival
Marshall would make a nice grab too, as they're in WV.
Last I checked, Indiana wasn't near the Atlantic coast, but you've got to admit, it would be a coup to get ND (even though I hate them)
Almost finished my 2002-2003 College Football raitings. Watch this space!!!
As a Dolphin fan, I agree wholeheartedly with Le Batard. Thanks for nothing Nick. You came and took a team that needed help and now they need more help. I really believed that he was moving in the right direction, but now we will never know.