Anyone remember this?
“I don’t understand it,” Jack Swarbrick said as a new round of conference hopping in college athletics moved into high gear Sunday. “How do you vote as a collegiate president on something that has the potential to provide some benefit for your institution and the conference you’re affiliated with but has a very negative consequence for a host of other members of the academy, as presidents like to call it?
“I’d like to know how much of these discussions are: What’s right? What is the best thing for the larger enterprise, and how many other schools would be adversely impacted?
“I just don’t know that that’s happening.”
Yes, the ND AD complaining about the selfish behavior of Pitt and Syracuse moving to the ACC. He and his institution are so far above such crass things. They would never make a move out of no where without giving their present partners a fair notice. Notre Dame’s president put his money-where-Swarbrick’s-mouth was. Why, Rev. Jenkins even headed up the Big East expansion committee. So you know they wouldn’t act against the best interests of the Big East while helping to make big decisions.
Oh, what’s that?
The University of Notre Dame accepted an invitation today (Sept. 12) to become a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in all sports except football.
That exception for football was even in the sub-headline of the press release, “Football to stay independent but will bring five games annually to ACC.”
Even as I type this, there is a presser going on on UNC’s campus where the President and AD of Notre Dame are there with ACC honchos trumpeting the move. I’m sure you were nice enough to let the Big East offices in Providence know about this weeks in advance.
I’m surprised. I didn’t see this coming. At least not this quickly. I figured this would be a slow dance of a couple years before this took place.
The key part of this is getting ND to guarantee five ACC games a year. As I have — and others as well — this is relatively easy for ND considering their long history with BC, Cuse and Pitt. From what I understand, though, the agreement is that the Irish will have to play all of the ACC teams within a set time frame. That means it is likely that Pitt-ND will continue, but not uninterrupted.
Not surprisingly, ND fans are happy with the move. Even if they have to play five whole games against the ACC.
The issue moving forward was always going to be finding a way for Notre Dame to always have a tough enough schedule in the coming Era of Playoffs to garner support to the big dance. Swarbrick has done a good job maintaining and strengthening the ND football schedule, but he still faces a lot of issues and problems filling out an independent schedule.
Now, he’ll be locked into 5 games in the ACC (the rumor is that ND will play every ACC team once every 3 seasons) and that will give him time to focus on filling out the final 7 games on the schedule.
And when you look at it like that…7 games is nothing to sneeze at. It leaves room to keep most of Notre Dame’s traditional rivalries and seek out a couple “new” games outside of the usual suspects.
The Big East and ND had an informal agreement where the Irish would play a few Big East teams every year. The difference, was that ND got to choose and work it out. So, easy for Pitt. But with UConn, the Huskies had to agree to their “home” game taking place in Foxboro, Massachusetts. And the Rutgers series fell apart because Rutgers insisted on playing at their real home stadium, not the Medowlands.
This is in the contract and the games will be scheduled. In that respect it is something of a significant step for ND.
In fact, it seems that those five games were important to help ND with scheduling.
As other conferences grew in size – the SEC expanded to 14 teams, the Pac-12 and Big 10 went to 12 – so too did the threat that the Irish couldn’t just pick and choose opponents, especially in October and November, as they always have. The other conferences might go to nine league games (as the Pac 12 already does), eliminating one slot for a tough non-conference opponent. Earlier this year, the Big Ten and Pac-12 set up a scheduling agreement that concerned Notre Dame – although it later fell apart when the Pac-12 pulled out.
Notre Dame currently must schedule all of its 12 games per year. This drops to seven games with the ACC scheduling the other five. ACC teams will likely be featured during the more challenging dates later in the season. It’s a far easier task.
“People don’t realize how difficult it is,” the source said. “The outlook was very challenging. If the Big Ten does move to a nine-game league schedule down the line, and it could be 10 years from now, can we still count on getting Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan all in a row? And late October and November kept growing tougher.”
I’m not wild about this. I wanted no more partial memberships. I get the argument that this more formal football arrangement will be more likely to pave the way for full membership. But, I don’t buy it. It will still take years before the ND base would tolerate the move.
As with the Big East, the Irish now have access to ACC bowls. This despite also being part of the roster to possibly play the ACC Champ in the Orange Bowl. The Irish will have the potential to leapfrog ACC teams. If the Irish are within one win of the ACC team, the bowl can pick the Irish. Can’t wait for other schools to get that experience.
Yet, even that is a slight improvement over the Big East deal. In the Big East, the Irish only had to be within two wins of another school to be selected over them.
Two other things of note. Getting ND, and the guaranteed 5 games means yet another tweak to the ACC TV Deal. Roughly projected at another $2 million per school.
More importantly, from the ACC press release. This:
In addition to extending an invitation to Notre Dame, the Council of Presidents voted to increase the conference exit fees to three times the annual operating budget. Currently this would equate to an exit fee of over $50 million.
Huge. That’s a tremendous stabilizing force on the conference. The $20 million exit fee was prohibitive enough. This puts an end to things when it goes into effect.
Now the bigger deal