By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
September 14, 2012
In a monumental college sports move, the ACC unanimously voted to accept Notre Dame as its newest member. The Fighting Irish previously was affiliated with the Big East in all sports expect football. Notre Dame will maintain football independence in its new deal with the ACC, but the school will play five games against the conference each season beginning as early as next year. In the past couple years, Notre Dame has turned down similar overtures from the Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC. The school still must negotiate a buyout with the Big East.
Football independence is important for the Irish because of the school’s lucrative TV contract with NBC. The deal reportedly is worth $15 million annually and runs through 2015. However, given the rising cost of sports TV rights and the Irish’s poor football play in recent years, it may be cost prohibitive for NBC to renew the deal at a similar price when it expires. Don’t be surprised if, in 2015, Notre Dame gives up the NBC deal for a more profitable chunk of the ACC’s TV contracts.