On Wednesday, Notre Dame announced that its Fighting Irish would move to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in July of 2013. However, the university's most infamous team would remain in the Big East for the foreseeable future.
There have been a number of National College Athletic Association (NCAA) conference changes in recent years, but Notre Dame's is unique in that it will not wholly commit to the ACC.
In previous switches, the conferences required universities to take an "all-in" approach, moving every men's and women's team over. The tailored solution allowed in Notre Dame's case raises some interesting questions regarding the motivation for the move. The D-I football team will play five games per season against ACC teams but otherwise will remain among the Big East schools, which includes Rutgers and Louisville among other strong teams. The ACC boasts powerhouses like Wake Forest and Florida State.
Gene Corrigan, a former leader at both the ACC and Notre Dame, told The New York Times, "Notre Dame as an institution fits so much better with Virginia and Duke and the A.C.C. schools. It will be different than what we’re used to. But everything now is different than what we’re used to."
Others interviewed regarding the change pointed to the decreased level of competition in many sports in the Big East conference, which has lost Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia recently.
Regardless of the change, the university assured fans who wear the Irish's football jersey that the team will maintain its partnership with NBC and will still compete against fan favorites Navy, Stanford, Michigan and others after 2013.