Notre Dame Goes To ACC: Addition Of Irish Seen As A Huge Positive For Conference
Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick and ACC Commissioner John Swofford “pulled off quite a deal” in moving the school's athletic programs -- minus football and hockey -- to the conference in what is a "coup -- for both sides,” according to a front-page piece by Al Lesar of the SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE. Notre Dame’s basketball and Olympic sports teams “have a stable home,” while the football team “finally has quality non-BCS bowl options it hasn’t had for a while.” The ACC gets “an instant infusion of additional credibility and, in the long run, cash.” The concept of Notre Dame joining without football “wasn’t an idea completely embraced by officials” at all 14 ACC member schools. However, instead of approaching the issue at a large gathering, Swofford “set out to make personal contact with the decision-makers at each school until he got the nine votes he needed” (SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 9/13). ESPN's Joe Tessitore said Swofford has "done a remarkable job over the course of the early summer through the late summer of stabilizing that league" ("College Football Live," ESPN, 9/12). Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich said, “For anyone who thought the ACC was not relevant any longer, I think this kind of puts us back into (the picture). There are five major conferences and we’re one of them. It solidifies our seat at the table” (AJC.com, 9/13).
ADDING A BLUE-CHIPPER: In Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd writes the deal is a “monster get for Swofford.” Cowherd: “Say what you will about the Irish, but their brand is still huge. And now the ACC gets to bask in the reflected glow of one of the most storied universities and legendary athletic programs in all the land” (Baltimore SUN, 9/13). In Augusta, Scott Michaux writes the ACC’s “latest acquisition is a no-brainer.” Notre Dame was “the only free agent on the market worth obtaining” (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 9/13). In DC, Dan Daly writes, “Even given its football struggles of late ... Notre Dame remains a Coca-Cola-type brand name. If the Irish visit your stadium, their followers will come. And so will the television cameras” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/13). SI.com’s Michael Rosenberg wrote, “Everybody wants to play Notre Dame in football. ... Playing Notre Dame is an event, the way it's an event when the Yankees come to town” (SI.com, 9/12). In West Palm Beach, Dave George writes any affiliation with Notre Dame, whether it "lasts for 10 years or for a single Saturday afternoon, is a jackpot.” George: “Notre Dame makes the ACC more stable, lessening the likelihood that FSU or Clemson or Virginia Tech or anybody else will be tempted to jump to another, more powerful football league. Also, Notre Dame sells out stadiums wherever it goes” (PALM BEACH POST, 9/13). Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Jim Kozimor said, “The biggest, most important ticket in college sports is Notre Dame” (“Chronicle Live" CSN Bay Area, 9/12).
HUGE MOVE FOR THE CONFERENCE: In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes, “Notre Dame’s fan base is large, loyal and national, and any athletic conference that can sign the school up wins” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/13). ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich wrote under the header, “ACC Gets Big Win With ND In The Lineup” (ESPN.com, 9/12). In L.A., Chris Dufresne writes under the header, “Notre Dame's Move, Minus Football, To ACC Will Benefit Everyone” (L.A. TIMES, 9/13). USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan writes Notre Dame "still commands attention like no one else in college sports." Its move from the Big East to the ACC "is as close to a defining moment as we’ll get amid the chaos of the once-orderly world of college sports” (USA TODAY, 9/13). However, in Jacksonville, Don Coble writes while the ACC “will benefit by Notre Dame playing five games against ACC opponents,” that “still won’t take it to the level of other leagues" like the SEC, Big 10, Pac-12 and Big 12 (JACKSONVILLE.com, 9/13).
NO PLANS FOR FURTHER EXPANSION: Swofford noted the ACC has no plans to expand further despite the addition of Notre Dame giving the league an odd number of members. He said, “We will have 15 members. Notre Dame will be an exception in football. If we brought in a 16th (school) now, then that would simply throw our football divisions out of balance. So it’s illogical to bring in a 16th member at this point” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 9/12). However, in Hartford, Paul Doyle notes the ACC "could add a non-football school such as Georgetown if it wanted a 16-team basketball league” (HARTFORD COURANT, 9/13).