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March 12, 2013
Notre Dame will play in its final Big East tournament this week.
That much was assumed before Mike Brey and the Irish men's basketball program arrived in New York City. Now it can be more than that following a University announcement on Tuesday morning that confirmed multiple media reports from the previous 12 hours.
Notre Dame will join in the ACC on July 1 for all sports save football and hockey. The football program will begin playing five games annually against ACC teams in 2014 and affiliate with the league's bowl bids. The hockey program's affiliation switches to Hockey East next season after the dissolution of the CCHA.
"From the time of our decision to join the ACC we have stressed our commitment to ensuring that our departure was achieved in a collegial manner," said athletics director Jack Swarbrick in a statement. "This agreement realizes that intention and we are very grateful to the members of the Big East and Commissioner Mike Aresco for helping to facilitate this orderly and timely transition."
The timing of Notre Dame's announcement follows the "Catholic 7" breaking away from the Big East but keeping the league's name and postseason tournament site. That shift was announced Friday and helped Swarbrick quickly pave the path for the Irish exit.
Notre Dame will come into the ACC alongside Syracuse and Pittsburgh next year. Louisville will join a year later.
For Notre Dame, getting out of the crumbling Big East made sense and was something the ACC wanted. The league had already begun working on 15-team league basketball schedules that included Notre Dame, with home-and-home dates marked for Boston College and Georgia Tech. The 18-game schedule would give Notre Dame two other TBD home-and-home opponents in addition to one shot at the rest of the league.
"In view of Notre Dame's expressed desire to join the ACC on an earlier timetable, the Big East and Notre Dame were able to arrive at an acceptable resolution," Aresco said. "The Big East can now focus fully on its future alignment and rebranding efforts. I want to thank the Notre Dame administration and athletic director Jack Swarbrick for their efforts in moving toward this orderly transition.? Notre Dame has been a valued member of the Big East and we wish them well."
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