Highlights from Wednesday's press conference announcing Notre Dame to ACC


by - Senior Writer -
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So, who was the big winner that emerges from Wednesday’s announcement of Notre Dame joining the Atlantic Coast Conference? Notre Dame, of course.

The Irish and the ACC announced an agreement Wednesday that allows Notre Dame to become a full-fledged member of the ACC in all sports except for football. Although the Irish will remain independent in football, they will play five games annually against ACC schools.

Notre Dame is not expected to leave the Big East for the ACC until at least 2014.

The ACC has said repeatedly in the past that it would not accept anything less than a full member [in all sports], but obviously made an exception in Notre Dame, which will rotate its five games against ACC schools – one year, there will be three games at Notre Dame and two at the homes of ACC schools, and the next year will be the opposite.

The conference and Notre Dame held a press conference in Chapel Hill, N.C., and present were ACC commissioner John Swofford, Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame commissioner Jack Swarbrick, UNC chancellor Holden Thorp, Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch and Clemson president James Barker.

Swofford listed the reasons for accepting Notre Dame as a less than full member.

"We've always been all in as far as full membership,” Swofford said. “In recent years, we've discussed this in a changing world. What was best 20 years ago is certainly not always what is best in today's world. That transition and thinking evolved over a period of time."

Other key points of the deal.

On dividing the revenue

“We’ll [the ACC] keep revenue from football and hockey broadcast agreements,” Swofford said. “We will otherwise have a member’s share distribution for non-football revenue. Outside of basketball, Notre Dame would be like any other member.”

In basketball and other non-revenue sports, the money will be divided over 15 teams now. Basketball gets 20 percent of TV revenue, 80 percent to football.

On re-negotiating the contract with ESPN

“In terms of the television contract, we will revisit that with our partners,” Swofford said. “We’ve had preliminary conversations with our partners. We think that this will enhance our television product. Notre Dame will remain with their partner for football and for hockey but in all other spots they will be a participant in the ACC from a television standpoint. They will keep their football television revenue and the ACC will keep their football television revenue.”

On the rotation of the football games

“Games every season would be rotating- one year the ACC would have three home games and Notre Dame would have two home games,” Swofford said. “The next year it would reverse. We will finalize this format as we move forward.

When games are in South Bend or a neutral site, the revenue will stay with Notre Dame. In an ACC stadium or a neutral site or on ESPN, the revenue would remain in the ACC. 80-percent of our television contract goes to football and 20-percent to basketball. ND will get 1/15 of the basketball and Olympic sport revenue as will every other member of the conference.”

On post-season implications

Notre Dame will not be eligible to play in the Orange Bowl from an ACC standpoint, but talks are ongoing to enhance their opportunity to play as an opponent.

“The way the bowl situation will work. I think this is very positive for both,” Swofford said. “Notre Dame in all probability will be one of multiple, potential opponents on the on the other side at the Orange Bowl. The ACC will keep all of its Orange Bowl revenue as a contract game since it does not go into any BCS revenue sharing pot. The team that plays us has the same situation. There is a possibility of an ACC and Notre Dame Orange Bowl. Notre Dame would keep all revenue from playing in the Orange Bowl or any of the other five BCS games. The ACC would keep its revenue from those games as well.”

Outside of the BCS, however, Notre Dame will be treated as any other ACC member.

“Below the BCS, Notre Dame will be a part of the ACC bowl lineup,” Swofford said. “In that sense, Notre Dame will basically be an ACC team in our bowl structure and lineup. There will be provisions for Notre Dame to be selected over another ACC team in the selection process. Notre Dame would have to be ranked higher, equal to or in the win column be within one win of the ACC teams that are also eligible to be picked. If an ACC team was 10-2 and Notre Dame was 8-4, then Notre Dame would not be eligible. If the ACC team was 9-3, Notre Dame could be selected.”

Swofford said Notre Dame will morph into ACC bowl structure under BCS level. Notre Dame can also be picked above another ACC team for a bowl if Notre Dame is ranked equal to or above, has more wins, equal or only one fewer than the ACC team.

Exit fee

Notre Dame isn’t going anywhere because the newly implemented 50 million dollar exit fee is effective immediately and applies to all members- football or not.

“The exit fee applies to Notre Dame and goes into effect immediately,” Swofford said.

Quote from Jenkins

“At Notre Dame, athletics are important in themselves and through our history has allowed us to enrich the university as a whole. Notre Dame is fully committed to enhancing the ACC and its member institutions.”

Swarbrick quote
“Unquestionably, in a host of sports, this is the best athletic conference in the country. And we’ll make it better in that regard.

Hatch quote

"Notre Dame and the institutions of the ACC believe in the balance of athletics, academics and integrity. The addition of Notre Dame will help our academic collaborative, as we continue to help each other to become better institutions."

On adding another school

“There's no need to add a 16th team to the league and no plan to do so. It's really illogical. This will be a 15-team league,” Swofford said,

On ACC basketball tourney

The ACC tournament will still be four days, with three Wednesday games instead of two.

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