Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Unlike Lennay Kekau, this is a real thing.
The Big East Conference and Notre Dame announced that they had reached a definitive agreement that will allow the Irish to leave the conference effective July 1. The move paves the way for Notre Dame to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports except football (independent) and men's hockey (Hockey East) next season.
Ninja Swofford is go.
"Our conference, schools and fans are delighted that Notre Dame will join the ACC on July 1, 2013. The addition of Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse, followed by Louisville in 2014, positions us extremely well with an outstanding collection of 15 member institutions."
-- While it was previously reported that Notre Dame would have to pay $2.5 million to leave the conference, the Irish actually won't have to pay a dime. The school agreed instead not to seek any of the league's $110 million pot of exit and entrance fees and the Big East agreed to let the Irish walk for free. Heh.
-- As previously announced, Notre Dame basketball will play home-and-home ACC series with Boston College and Georgia Tech along with two rotating partners. In addition to Notre Dame, Boston College will play an annual home-and-home with Syracuse. The Eagles permanent schedule partners in hoops go from Miami and Virginia Tech (through 2011-12 anyway) to Notre Dame and Syracuse (2013-). I can haz upgraded home ACC basketball schedule?
-- The ACC Tournament will feature all 15 teams, with three games on Wednesday, four on Thursday, four on Friday, the semifinals Saturday and the championship game on Sunday. Yes, double byes are a thing again.
-- Notre Dame football, which will remain independent, will play five ACC teams annually starting in 2014. The Irish currently have just two ACC teams scheduled in 2014 -- newcomers Pittsburgh and Syracuse -- with one open spot. Thanks for playing, Rice and Temple.
-- Notre Dame will not be a part of the Big East's bowl lineup in 2013. If the Irish don't make a BCS bowl, they'll have to sit and wait to see if any conference can't fill its complete bowl lineup.
-- Louisville and Rutgers will remain in the Big East one more season before moving to the ACC and Big Ten, respectively, in 2014. Sorry, Cardinals.
-- Notre Dame is also joining Boston College's men's hockey conference because they soooo want to be us. Absent a Boston College-Notre Dame football game this year, I hope the ACC and Hockey East can work a hockey-hoops doubleheader weekend next season.
-- ACC Men's Lacrosse is going to be stacked next year. Like, seriously stacked. For one year only, the league will include Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Virginia, or 54 percent of all Division I-A men's lacrosse National Championships. Adding fuel to the "Boston College will never be competitive in Division I men's lacrosse" argument. That said, the following year the conference will again be in the market for a sixth program and an NCAA Tournament auto-bid.
-- Starting next season, the ACC Baseball Championship will feature 10 teams in a six-day event. While unconfirmed, my guess is Notre Dame slots into the ACC's Atlantic Division for Syracuse which doesn't sponsor varsity baseball -- giving the conference an even 14 programs. Interestingly, the decision not to qualify all baseball teams runs counter to the league's decision to include all 15 basketball programs in the conference tournament. You can probably forget about the Red Sox ever hosting the ACC Baseball Championship at Fenway now.
-- ACC Fencing? With Notre Dame joining the conference in all sports except football and hockey, will the ACC recommend fencing as an official conference sport? The Irish make four programs (the minimum number needed to start a conference), joining Boston College, Duke and North Carolina. Gotta up that conference title count to justify Boston College's move to the ACC after all. / Rick Pitino logic.