banner
Adam Gold

The Ninja Commissioner strikes again

Posted September 12, 2012
Updated September 13, 2012

Wednesday's announcement that Notre Dame will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference has received mixed reviews from the masses. For some -- mostly fans of the Big East, but also by some snobbish ACC honks that want the Irish all in or all out -- this isn't a good day. They see one conference continuing to crumble beneath the weight of the growing power conferences. Or, they think that the ACC should have stood their ground and told Notre Dame that they either join the league in all sports, or they can take their leprechaun somewhere else.

Essentially, that would have been tantamount to calling their bluff, because over the last few years there has been a lot of speculation that the Irish would take their Olympic Sports to the Big 12 or Big Ten, or make a stronger commitment to the Big East. And, no matter how stable the ACC might appear, if and when the time came for Notre Dame to bring their football program into the 21st century, the ACC stood the most to gain -- or lose -- based on the destination.

So, here are just a few thoughts about what this means in the long and short term: 

* Notre Dame enters the league in all sports, except for football and hockey. No arrival date has yet been specified, and remember that the Big East has a 27-month exit clause in their charter, so it's possible that this will not happen until the fall of 2014 at the earliest.

* Notre Dame will play 5 football games each year against ACC opponents. This year, the Irish are scheduled to play Miami, Boston College and Wake Forest. They also have Pittsburgh and Syracuse already on their schedule over the next four seasons, and have recently completed series with North Carolina and Maryland.

* Notre Dame will align themselves with the ACC in the bowl-selection process -- except in cases of the Bowl Championship Series. That means that from the Chick-fil-A Bowl down through the ACC roster of post season games, they will have the option of selecting the Fighting Irish to play in their bowl.  While some of you have already posed this to me as a problem, I counter with the fact that it can't do anything but help your relationship with the bowls -- at least while they still exist -- to have a program like Notre Dame as a viable option.  In the coming years, I'm sure you'll see the upper tier of ACC bowl tie-ins improve. Especially if the Florida State and Clemson revivals grow roots.

* I said this a dozen years ago and I've said it repeatedly since. College football's landscape is so drastically different from 25 years ago -- heck it's different from 10 years ago -- and that it's nothing more than romance that keeps Notre Dame from full-on conference affiliation.  In my opinion, the ACC has always been the eventual destination for the Golden Dome and I view this partial-membership period as purely transitional. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we hear few practical details about how this machine will ultimately work and the the first time Notre Dame uses ACC letterhead it will be as a full member.

* This is another step forward in the goal to establish more of a football culture. Notre Dame's football following is legendary, even when you consider that they've not really competed for a national championship in more than two decades. Notre Dame Stadium becomes the third ACC football venue with a seating capacity of at least 80,000 (the others are Florida State and Clemson). That's a far cry from the SEC and the Big Ten, but you've got to start somewhere.  

* This could also impact the ACC's deal with the Orange Bowl. It's very possible that in the short term, Notre Dame would be the first choice to play opposite the ACC champ -- providing the league doesn't send a team, or two, to the playoffs -- as long as it wasn't a rematch of a regular season meeting.  

* I never thought schools would leave the ACC, no matter how much hot air emanated from Tallahassee, Florida. But, to do so now would cost the exiting school a $50 million penalty.  As they were drawing up the plans for Notre Dame's inclusion, they locked all the doors from the outside.  

* Not that this is about Olympic sports, because it isn't, but for the twitter age, I offer this ready-made tweet: ACC Men's Lacrosse > SEC Football. Seriously, the conference already boasted four of the best programs in the nation in Duke, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. Between them they have 11 national championships, or as many as incoming member Syracuse has on their own. Now add the Irish, one of the rising modern powers in the sport. Fun fact: Based on current ACC membership, In the 42 years of NCAA men's lacrosse, only three times has there been a national championship game that didn't involve an ACC school. The last time it happened was in 1987. ACC schools have 22 titles and 22 runner up finishes. The ACC men's lacrosse tournament just became a hot ticket.

* We have no earthly idea how this is going to impact the scheduling for basketball. However, the truth is that producing an equitable slate of games for a 14-team league, utilizing an 18-game schedule wasn't ever going to be a comfortable process in the first place. How much more difficult can it possibly be?  That's even more reason for the league to find a path to a 16th team and make this a nice, neat, balanced conference. I'll try not to mention the word "pod" in front of Mike Krzyzewski, but four groupings of four teams each sure does make life easier.

* While I'm confident that Notre Dame wasn't ever going to move even some of their sports to the Big XII, and they've been very reluctant to align with the geographically sensible Big Ten, this is a great move if for no other reason than the ACC keeps the Irish programs in-house.

* Finally, for purely image purposes, the ACC just added one of the premiere universities in the United States. While largely a national afterthought in football for the last two decades, Notre Dame still packs a punch in terms of fan interest, their other sports compete nationally for championships, and their academic reputation fits very nicely into the public perception the ACC loves to highlight (recent issues in Chapel Hill notwithstanding).

What we don't have any answers to at this point is where the league would turn for a 16th member.  Would Connecticut and their three national championships in men's basketball -- not to mention the Roger Federer-esque success of the women's program -- be the most logical addition?  Or, would Rutgers make more sense from a University and media market standpoint?  If Notre Dame remains an independent in football for the long term, that might open the possibility for even more options, including basketball-only options like St. John's.  

All of that is for another time.  The Atlantic Coast Conference just got better today.  John Swofford, the Ninja Commissioner, went below ground, did what does, and emerged with the New and Improved ACC, 25% more swanky than the old brand and just as collegial.   

 

14 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Dr. Feelgood Sep 13, 9:45 p.m.

    Listening to Debbie Yow on Adam & Joe yesterday, the "between the lines" sure... View More

    — Posted by kennywalters

    Yep. The last shoe has not dropped on this deal. As I said,,when you are going for the Beauty Queen, you gotta wine, dine, and move carefully. She won't marry you on the first date, but given time, she will be all in. Swofford showed up the haters and it's just eating them alive that a Tar Heel bagged the biggest deal in college sports.

  • Hokies94 Sep 13, 6:59 p.m.

    I like this. If and when the day comes that ND joins a conference in football, it's most likely... View More

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again02

    I like your enthusiastic sentiment/approach. NC State could do well I think vs the mighty ND. Wake has played them a few times, and they will honor them firstly. When the ACC sets the schedule after WF, you can bet that VT, FSU, and Clemson will be in the 1st order. They have to look at the teams in front of the ACC. Just my Hokie opinion. Go Hokies.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 13, 5:17 p.m.

    Does that mean if ND decides to leave the ACC that they will be on the hook for $50 million or... View More

    — Posted by lec02572

    From what I understand, that is the case.

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again02

    Yeah they are on the hook for $50 million. Just like they are on the hook with The Big East... View More

    — Posted by bourboNCarolina

    If they want to leave the BE earlier, they will have to pay.

    If they want to leave the ACC, they will have to pay $50 million, and I believe that was the question.

  • bourboNCarolina Sep 13, 2:25 p.m.

    Does that mean if ND decides to leave the ACC that they will be on the hook for $50 million or... View More

    — Posted by lec02572

    From what I understand, that is the case.

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again02

    Yeah they are on the hook for $50 million. Just like they are on the hook with The Big East right now, not being able to leave their conference for 27 months IIRC.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 13, 2:20 p.m.

    Does that mean if ND decides to leave the ACC that they will be on the hook for $50 million or... View More

    — Posted by lec02572

    From what I understand, that is the case.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 13, 2:19 p.m.

    I like this. If and when the day comes that ND joins a conference in football, it's most likely... View More

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again02

    Isn't that what the Big East said?

    Honestly though, if ND does move into a conference, this does... View More

    — Posted by mesocell

    I don't know, but ND didn't have any kind of agreement to play five games against BE teams.

    And some people think the day is coming soon that ND would make less money as an independent than they would in a conference. When that day arrives, they will have their football program in a conference.

    Besides, I think ND really likes what the ACC has to offer, as opposed to the BE. I don't think the two can be compared.

  • iron fist Sep 13, 1:44 p.m.

    I don't think ND is a good fit for the ACC the ACC is large enough no more additions needed, and I agree with mescoell to much travel for students taking them away from the class room which is where they should be I know they are there to play sports but education should be first priority

  • lec02572 Sep 13, 1:42 p.m.

    Does that mean if ND decides to leave the ACC that they will be on the hook for $50 million or since they are not a full member are they exampt.

  • DooksucksV.2 Sep 13, 1:25 p.m.

    Once the details are worked out it will be a good thing for the league.

  • 4tarheels Sep 13, 1:13 p.m.

    The bottom line is that the ACC is stronger with Notre Dame 75% IN rather than 100% OUT. So, how can it be a bad thing for the league?

More...

 

 

  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Tomorrow at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA at Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 3:15 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Canes vs. NY Rangers

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State at West Virginia

    Tomorrow at 9:30 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
4th
PHI 79
CHA 102
 
4th
PHI 79
CHA 102
 
4th
ORL 92
UTA 98
 
3rd
CLE 67
BRK 67
 
4th
BOS 83
MIN 77
 
3rd
DET 61
TOR 78
 
3rd
MIA 75
WAS 71
 
Half
MEM 43
CHI 51
 
Half
SAN 46
POR 44
 
1st
DEN 2
LAC 4
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
Final
RAD 76
SIENA 66
 
Final
BUCK 88
CASEWEST 65
 
Final
LIB 94
CPNC 65
 
Final
SCAR 68
CLEM 45
 
Final
CMICH 97
CONC 60
 
Final
MIAMI 44
EKENT 72
 
Final
GWEBB 91
HIWASSEE 71
 
Final
ODU 60
MDES 43
 
Final
BUF 88
NIAG 62
 
Final
KSU 71
NCAT 57
 
Final
FAM 65
UNF 83
 
Final
NORST 81
NARZ 62
 
Final
DART 58
NILL 55
 
Final
MORE 60
NKENTUCKY 83
 
Final
UCSB 69
SDCHR 46
 
2nd
STJ 52
GAELS 47
 
Final
ALA 69
STILL 49
 
Final
HAMP 66
TENST 54
 
Final
TENN 61
TENT 58
 
Final
WMARY 86
WSHMD 46
 
2nd
MERC 59
COOK 40
 
2nd
FLGC 67
FUR 54
 
2nd
CALST 49
SDKST 51
 
2nd
MTST 31
CHAT 26
 
2nd
NDAK 42
DICKINSON 22
 
2nd
LAMON 43
LSUALEX 42
 
2nd
PRIN 55
LIP 42
 
2nd
LAM 55
MLGN 31
 
Half
MINN 43
SEAT 21
 
2nd
LOYC 50
SUTAH 34
 
2nd
SELA 56
WINT 41
 
2nd
SILL 36
NO 27
 
1st
MARQ 14
ALAAM 5
 
1st
TTU 0
ARKPB 0
 
1st
DEN 13
COLST 10
 
1st
CREI 12
TXPA 5
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
3rd
NJD 2
TAM 1
 
2nd Intermission
OTT 4
ANA 1
 
2nd Intermission
DET 1
NYI 2
 
2nd
WIN 1
BOS 1
 
1st
CAL 0
DAL 0