If Notre Dame can navigate a swift exit from the Big East, there is a spot waiting for the Fighting Irish in the ACC for the upcoming 2013 season, according to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.
The Notre Dame athletic department announced prior to the 2012 season that it would be moving all of it sports, except football, from the Big East to the ACC beginning with the 2014 season. However, that waiting period was contingent upon the so-called ‘Catholic 7′ schools — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova — staying in the league as well. Had they done so, the conference as a whole would have remained extremely competitive in basketball.
However, those seven voted to split away recently and will actually be taking the ‘Big East’ name with them.
The decision on the part of those schools left Notre Dame in a state of flux. Officials from the school had indicated previously that the Irish would at least explore an earlier exit should the conference split apart, and that is precisely what has happened.
Conference by-laws stipulate that schools must provide the soon-to-be not-Big East at least 27 months notice before leaving, and that they must pay a $10 million exit fee. Of the 16 schools that have bolted the conference over the last few years, however, several have gotten out early in exchange for paying a more lofty fee.
But those numbers actually do not apply to Notre Dame (what else is new with this school?). The Golden Domers, should they wait the 27 months, can walk away from the league surcharge-free, and that is obviously a big motivation for sticking around.
Interestingly, the Big East’s football league offered to let Notre Dame walk away in exchange for scheduling games against the floundering new conference, but the Irish declined — such is the sorry state of affairs in a league whose biggest rivalry is currently Central Florida vs. South Florida, seriously.
In any case, the window for getting into the ACC for next season shrinks by the day. With all of the logistics involved with scheduling, television and travel, as much notice as possible is needed.
The onus is now on Notre Dame. Will the Irish stay in the Big East for another season or two, or bolt to the ACC as soon as possible — and how much will it cost?