Remember all that talk about Notre Dame maintaining its football independence but dumping all other sports in the ACC should the Big East fall in on itself? Well on Wednesday, commissioner John Swofford all but shut the door on that option for the Irish.
Think you gon' get away with that in the ACC, Notre Dame? Not up in here! NOT UP IN HERE!
"We're an all-in, revenue-equal conference. That's very basic to us. That's what works for us. ... I think going forward we will continue to consider equal revenue sharing and full membership or no membership (important) in our conference. I don't see that changing."
Joe Bertagna, please take note.
Swofford's not alone in his stance against the Irish's sense of entitlement. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Virginia AD Craig Littlepage are backing the commish:
"I think the strength of the ACC has been its academics, its integrity and its equal (distribution) of income ... I would not want any member that had an outside game." - K
"It's a difficult thing for me to feel that helps our conference ... Again, a guiding principle of the conference is that we're all in it together, we're all in. ... I would just have personal reservations." - Littlepage
So it would seem the Irish are either all-in and will bring a 16th program along with them (Rutgers? UConn?), or they're not. But probably not.
At this point, the ACC doesn't need to give the Irish safe harbor for its basketball program and non-revenue sports. The conference is full up on college basketball programs with a sense of entitlement (though more deserved than Irish basketball). Nor does it need to bend over backwards to accommodate a program not willing to distribute revenue equally.
That said, the ACC will likely stay at 14 indefinitely, keeping a seat at the table warm for the Irish should the school be forced to join up with a BCS football conference (read: fundamental changes to the current BCS system where Notre Dame has to be a member of one of the 4-5 major football conferences to gain access to a I-A playoff). I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where this happens, which is why I think the ACC will stay at 14 for many years to come.