— Pete Thamel(@SIPeteThamel) March 12, 2013
Big news out of the Big East as the conference gets set to begin the final installment of its famed conference basketball tournament Tuesday in New York City. The University of Notre Dame is set to jump from the yet to be renamed 'Old Big East' to the Atlantic Coast Conference in time for the start of next season according to a report from Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel. The move is pending the approval of Big East university presidents who are expected to finalize the matter on a conference call this morning according to Thamel. The Irish will be joining current Big East Conference rivals Syracuse and Pittsburgh as newcomers to the ACC where they will begin new rivalries with national powerhouses Duke and North Carolina in time for the 2013-2014 college basketball season. Notre Dame had previously announced last September that it would be joining the ACC in all sports except football and ice hockey.
ND's move follows the earlier departure of the 'Catholic Seven' which was finalized late last week according to the Chicago Tribune. The 'Catholic Seven' - the Big East's seven non-football playing Catholic universities - consists of DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova. Butler, Xavier and Creighton are expected to join the new Big East next year to form a 10-school conference. Dayton and St. Louis of the Atlantic-10 are rumored expansion targets for the 2014-2015 season to form a 12-school basketball league. The schools, per agreement of with the Big East, will retain the right to the Big East name and continue to host a season ending conference championship at Madison Square Garden.
More from Thamel:
The move doesn't come as a surprise. The ACC has remained Notre Dame’s desired landing spot since the Big East basketball conference became depleted with the departure of the Catholic Seven. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey has been vocal about his hope to play in the ACC, a league he grew up watching as a Maryland fan and coached in as a long-time assistant at Duke. With the ACC’s basketball schedule yet to be completed for next year, the league was able to accommodate the Irish.
The economics of Notre Dame’s exit will be similar to the departing Catholic Seven basketball schools, meaning it will keep its NCAA basketball units and take a small amount of the Big East reserve fund.
Because Notre Dame left the Big East under a Mutual Commitment Agreement -– the same method as the Catholic Seven -– it was not subject to the traditional exit fee it would have faced if it stayed in the league for 27 months. Notre Dame’s fee will essentially end up forgoing any claims to the estimated $70 million the Big East has stashed away in exit and entry fees. (That number is liquid due to litigation and other factors.)
Switching conferences to the ACC next year is the right move for both the ACC and Notre Dame. With the scheduled departure of the Catholic Seven set to take effect on July 1, 2013, and Notre Dame's previous expected entry into the ACC in time for the 2014-15 season, Notre Dame was looking at having to spend a year in limbo competing against the schools of the yet to be renamed 'Old Big East.' These schools - Rutgers, SMU, Temple, Cincy, UConn, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, USF, and UCF - largely lack significant or traditional rivalries with the Irish. Their one year union would have been nothing more than a forced marriage for money. ND would be staying solely to avoid paying an exorbitant exit fee to the league.
Fans of the ACC and the Irish should be ecstatic to see the rebirth of traditional rivalries with Boston College and Miami along with the start of new rivalries with some of the most decorated college basketball programs in the nation. With the addition of Notre Dame, the ACC will have 15 basketball schools next year. The following year Louisville will also join the conference as ACC charter member Maryland departs for the Big Ten.
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Tags: ACC, Atlantic-10, Big East, Butler, Cincy, Creighton, DePaul, Duke, Georgetown, Houston, Louisville, Madison Square Garden, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, SMU, St. John's, Syracuse, Temple, UCF, UConn, USF, Villanova, Xavier