Notre Dame Joining ACC Early

As the Big East men's basketball tournament begins and the women's tournament ends, many major decisions about the future of the conference have been finalized.

The 2013 Big East men's basketball championship begins Tuesday night with two first-round games. Between now and Saturday's championship game, the phrase "it will never be the same' will be repeated countless times.

Of course, that's because the Big East is fragmenting and falling apart. As a reminder of the historic events, two decisions were announced Tuesday and several statements were released.

The break away of the Catholic 7 schools was made official when the presidents of those schools formally approved the agreement that was made public last week. And Notre Dame announced it will begin play in the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports except football and hockey for the 2013-14 season. That is one season earlier than originally thought but the ACC had gone public last week saying it would be willing to accept the Irish this summer.

That confirms what we already knew: that Tuesday night's women's championship game between Connecticut and Notre Dame will end that rivalry – at least in terms of a conference environment. The Connecticut men, winners of seven Big East tournament championships, are banned from the Big East tournament in New York this season.

Is the timing of all this odd? Of course it is. But the entire process has been strange, if not bewildering.

A Statement From The Presidents of the Basketball Group of 7

March 12, 2013 - The Presidents of the Big East Conference this morning formally approved an agreement that will allow the seven basketball schools - DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova – to establish a new conference that will begin play in the 2013-14 academic year under the "Big East" name. The seven basketball schools, which include many of the original founding schools of the Big East, have unanimously established the goal of continuing the storied legacy and time-honored traditions of athletic competition so closely associated with the Big East, including being the home of the very best college basketball in the nation.

Details about the expected broadcast media deal, season-ending tournament and additional members of the new conference will be announced in the near future.

Statement from Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference for athletic competition in all sports except football and hockey beginning with the upcoming 2013-14 seasons.

Notre Dame has been a member of the Big East Conference in most sports since 1995. The University announced Sept. 13 that it would leave the Big East to join the ACC.

With the departure of the seven current non-football institutions — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova, — effective July 1, Notre Dame and the Big East jointly agreed that it would be best for Notre Dame to depart at the same time.

"From the time of our decision to join the ACC we have stressed our commitment to ensuring that our departure was achieved in a collegial manner," Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick said. "This agreement realizes that intention and we are very grateful to the members of the Big East and Commissioner Mike Aresco for helping to facilitate this orderly and timely transition."

While the vast majority of Notre Dame athletic teams will begin ACC play in 2013-14, the Irish football program remains independent. Beginning in 2014 Notre Dame will play five football games per season against ACC programs.

The Notre Dame hockey team, currently a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in the final season for that league, joins Hockey East starting in 2013-14.

Notre Dame has 13 currently-competing teams that are nationally ranked – No. 1 women's fencing, No. 2 women's basketball, No. 2 men's fencing, No. 3 men's lacrosse, No. 6 women's lacrosse, No. 12 hockey, No. 15 women's tennis, No. 18 women's swimming, No. 17 baseball, No. 22 women's golf, No. 20 men's swimming, No. 24 men's basketball, and No. 27 men's tennis.

Statement from Big East

PROVIDENCE – BIG EAST Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco today announced that a definitive agreement has been reached that will provide for Notre Dame's departure from the BIG EAST Conference effective on July 1, 2013.

The agreement was reached through amicable and mutually respectful discussions between the BIG EAST Conference and Notre Dame.

"This decision makes sense for the BIG EAST," said Aresco. "In view of Notre Dame's expressed desire to join the ACC on an earlier timetable, the BIG EAST and Notre Dame were able to arrive at an acceptable resolution. The BIG EAST can now focus fully on its future alignment and rebranding efforts. I want to thank the Notre Dame administration and Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick for their efforts in moving toward this orderly transition. Notre Dame has been a valued member of the BIG EAST and we wish them well."

"From the time of our decision to join the ACC we have stressed our commitment to ensuring that our departure was achieved in a collegial manner," Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick said. "This agreement realizes that intention and we are very grateful to the members of the BIG EAST and Commissioner Aresco for helping to facilitate this orderly and timely transition."

Comment from ACC Commissioner John Swofford:

"Our conference, schools and fans are delighted that Notre Dame will join the ACC on July 1, 2013. The addition of Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse, followed by Louisville in 2014, positions us extremely well with an outstanding collection of 15 member institutions."

"As was previously announced, our annual five games against Notre Dame in football will begin with the 2014 season. This not only will enhance our league's already ambitious football schedules but also will provide terrific fan excitement."

"From a basketball perspective, the level of competition will be second to none. As we look towards the future, there's no denying that ACC Basketball will continue to set even higher standards of excitement and excellence. The competition will be brutal, which is a great thing for our league and fans."

Statement from Notre Dame President and Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick: "Notre Dame now looks forward with great anticipation to becoming a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. We are thrilled to join a great group of institutions who share our commitment to the integration of athletics into the academic mission of the university. Our coaches and student-athletes across our athletic programs are truly excited about the new challenges ahead."


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