Dienhart: ND joins ACC, but not for football

Big news today as Notre Dame announced it would join the ACC in all sports but—surprise!—football. So, Big Ten fans, trash any hopes you were clinging to about Notre Dame  joining your conference. The Big Ten twice has made offers in the past, only to be rebuffed. It wasn’t going to ask a third time. Now this move by Notre Dame all but seals the notion that a Big Ten-Notre Dame marriage won’t happen in a long, long time . If ever.

Maybe it’s time for the Big Ten to stop scheduling Notre Dame in all sports. Why fuel the Irish schedule? I know games with Notre Dame are lucrative for Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue—Big Ten foes who regularly play the Irish. But, the seeming finality of Notre Dame’s long-term future with the ACC seems like a good time for the Big Ten to divorce itself of all Notre Dame scheduling.

The Irish have moved on. The Big Ten should, too.

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Notre Dame will join the ACC as soon as it can exit the Big East, which requires a 27-month notice to exit. But remember, West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse bolted earlier without playing a higher exit fee. So, there is no reason to think a school with the heft and power of Notre Dame won’t be able to do the same.

As part of the deal, Notre Dame will play five ACC schools a year in football. Don’t forget: They already essentially have four on the schedule this season: Miami (FL), Boston College, Wake Forest and soon-to-be ACC member Pitt (full Notre Dame schedule here).

This presumably will make the ACC television package more lucrative. Still, not getting a full commitment from Notre Dame cheapens the ACC and makes it look like the Big East, which had a similar agreement with Notre Dame. Ask the Big East how that worked out.

Could you imagine the Big Ten or SEC allowing Notre Dame to join under a similar plan? It wouldn’t happen. This smacks as a desperate move for football relevance by the ACC, just like the  additions of Pitt and Syracuse last fall seemed hasty.

But, again, ND isn’t a football-playing member of the ACC. So, why make the move? Because of Irish basketball? So Wake Forest and Duke can play the Irish once a decade in football?

It’s all laughable.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (5 Comments)
Cliff on 9/12/2012 @ 2:40pm EDT Said:

OMG, The Big Ten missed out on ND again, How could that happen.

aroznowski on 9/12/2012 @ 6:29pm EDT Said:

This is fine with me. Even though Notre Dame is among my favorites, I don’t want the Fighting Irish in the Big Ten. Notre Dame has had two chances to join the Big Ten and chose not to take advantage of either of them. That final seat at the Big Ten’s table has since been taken by Nebraska. I hope for the best for the Fighting Irish in the ACC and that Notre Dame’s traditional rivalries with Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, etc. can continue.

Jonathan on 9/12/2012 @ 7:32pm EDT Said:

It’s up to Jim Delany to force all Big Ten schools to not schedule Notre Dame in all sports, which would be hard for certain Olympic sports.

But since that won’t happen, it’s a win-win-win situation for the Irish.

Glad the Big Ten wouldn’t agree to such a deal, in addition to allowing Notre Dame to have its own TV contract (while other ACC schools do not).

If you’re Florida State, I wouldn’t be too happy about the current arrangements.

jahhoosier on 9/13/2012 @ 10:10am EDT Said:

Ummm…geez. This was a business move, not a personal slap against B10 schools, and made primarily to a) escape a rapidly imploding Big East, and b) give ND access to post-season bowls. They are joining only as a partial member. It adds, as you say, a whopping ONE ACC game to their schedule as compared to this year. In short, ND’s situation vis-a-vis the B10 is the same as it has been for many years now, except now it’s the ACC instead of the B.E.

Would the B10 admit them as partial members? No, and that’s precisely the point. The Irish want to preserve their tradition of being independent. What, precisely, is wrong about that? If more schools focused on their traditions the way ND does, college sports would not be in the mess it is in.

Moreover, it has never been absolutely clear that ND would even be admitted to the B10 by the presidents even on a full basis, because ND is not a member of the A.A.U.

Dick Irving on 9/13/2012 @ 1:37pm EDT Said:

As far as football goes, I think that Notre Dame underestimates the impact this will have on their recruiting. Kids in the Chicago area, as well as though in Detroit, western Pennsylvania and Ohio, don’t dream of playing North Carolna State, UNC, even FSU, etc. growing up in the midwest. Notre Dame’s loss in this area of recruiting is the Big Ten’s gain. Fitzgerald had already culled some gems in the Southwest Chicago suburbs for NU; now, it will be easier.

If Notre Dame is gloing to keep Stanford, USC and Navy as annual games and stagger MSU, Purdue and Michigan, as has been reported, the Big Ten should drop scheduling Notre Dame,not for spite, but because it is easier to fill a schedule with a worthy opponent on a home-and-away basis than it is on a home-skip-away-skip basis.