5 questions about ACC, Notre Dame partnership

jgiglio@newsobserver.comSeptember 12, 2012 

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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish cheerleaders perform on the court against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the quarterfinal of the 2010 NCAA Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2010 in New York City. Notre Dame will be joining the ACC as a partial member, excluding football.

JIM MCISAAC — Getty Images

— Five questions about the ACC's new partnership with Notre Dame:

1) When will Notre Dame join the ACC?

The timetable is fluid. The plan is to begin the football arrangement for the 2014 season, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said.

The Big East requires a 27-month notification, and a $5 million exit fee, which would mean the other sports would start in the 2015-16 academic year.

Swarbrick said there will be discussions with the Big East to “see if there's an opportunity to accelerate” the exit date.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse negotiated to leave the Big East a year earlier than required and will join the ACC for the 2013-14 academic year.

Logistically, it’s unlikely that Notre Dame will be able to join the ACC at the same time as Pitt and Syracuse.

2) How will the football schedule work?

Notre Dame will play five ACC teams each season, and it will play every ACC team at least once every three years.

The plan is for Notre Dame, in Year A for example, to host three home games and play two road games against ACC teams, and then vice versa in Year B. All games against Notre Dame will be considered non-conference games.

Notre Dame already has Pittsburgh and Syracuse scheduled for the 2014 season and Wake Forest, Pitt and Syracuse in 2015.

Boston College has played Notre Dame 18 times in the past 20 years, but the series will become less frequent. BC will become part of the ACC rotation of the five annual games.

3) Will Notre Dame be a part of the ACC's bowl selection process?

Yes, but only in bowl games below the BCS level.

Notre Dame will retain its sovereignty in the Bowl Championships Series process. So it's possible Notre Dame and the ACC champion could meet in a BCS bowl, logically the Orange Bowl.

If Notre Dame doesn’t qualify for the BCS, which will expand to a four-team playoff format for the 2014 season, it will be a part of the ACC selection process.

“They will basically become an ACC team in our bowl structure and bowl lineup,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said.

That means, in theory, the Chick-fil-A Bowl or Belk Bowl will have the opportunity to select Notre Dame instead of an ACC team. In theory because the ACC's bowl partners, other than the Orange, will change for the 2014 season when the BCS expands.

Notre Dame will have to be ranked higher or within one of the eligible ACC team to jump them in the bowl order, Swofford said.

4) How will the television money be split?

“They will keep their football television revenue and the ACC will keep its football television revenue,” Swofford said.

That means Notre Dame doesn’t have to share its reported $15 million a year deal with NBC, which runs through the 2015 season, and the ACC doesn’t have to give Notre Dame a cut of its football-related revenue from the 15-year, $3.6 billion television deal with ESPN.

Notre Dame will get one-fifteenth of the basketball revenue, Swofford said, which is about 20 percent of the annual ESPN payout.

The average annual payout of the ACC's deal is $17.1 million, which means Notre Dame's average annual share would be worth approximately $228,000.

Swarbrick termed the move as “financially neutral” for Notre Dame.

Swofford said the ACC could renegotiate its deal with the addition of Notre Dame.

5) What's next? Will the league stay at 15 or jump to 16?

As long as Notre Dame remains independent in football, there's no plan for the ACC to add a 16th team.

“There is no need to add a 16th team to the league and there’s no intention of doing so,” Swofford said. “In fact, from a practical standpoint, it is illogical.”

Also, the ACC's newly adopted exit fee of $50 million ostensibly ends any rumor-mongering of Florida State or Clemson taking shelter in the SEC or Big 12.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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