Sept. 13, 2012

Wednesday’s announcement that Notre Dame will become the 15th member of Atlantic Coast Conference created a flurry of chatter and anticipation. Below are several Frequently Asked Questions and Answers regarding the Fighting Irish’s entry as ACC members.

Q. What makes Notre Dame an especially good fit for the Atlantic Coast Conference?

A. The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity and the addition of Notre Dame only strengthens this long-standing commitment. Academically, Notre Dame enhances the league’s unique blend of public and private institutions that are international in scope.  In terms of athletics, the Irish have marquee programs that boast great tradition and success.  The collective alumni and fan bases of our conference will become even stronger in covering the entire country with exceptionally strong roots up and down the Atlantic Coast.

Q. How has the addition of Notre Dame (and other new members previously) bolstered the ACC’s already-strong academic resume?

A. Of the ACC’s future 15 member league, 11 schools rank among the top 58 institutions in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report survey of “America’s Best Colleges”, more than any other conference also competing at the highest level athletically. The next closest conference features six institutions in the top 58.

Q. How does the addition of Notre Dame bolster the ACC athletically?

A.  While Notre Dame has a storied football tradition that boasts 11 national titles,  ACC men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports will  be enhanced by the presence of the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame boasts 27 total national championships since the formation of the NCAA, including the 2001 women’s basketball title and three women’s soccer championships since 1995.  

Q. Are there plans for expansion in the ACC beyond the addition of Notre Dame?

A.  There are no plans for expansion beyond 15 members.

Q. When will Notre Dame join the ACC?

A. The ACC will be respectful and allow Notre Dame and the Big East work out the details and timeline as to when the Fighting Irish become a competing member. The current Big East by-laws require a 27-month waiting period, though there is a possibility the process could be accelerated.

Q. In which sports will Notre Dame compete for ACC championships?

A.  Notre Dame will compete for ACC titles in all of its sanctioned sports with the exception of football and ice hockey. The football program will play five games annually against ACC opponents on a rotating basis. The conference affiliation between the ACC and Notre Dame is unique. It’s a hybrid that allows Notre Dame the ability to preserve its football independence while integrating the Fighting Irish into the league by playing five ACC games annually and joining in the ACC’s non-BCS bowl package. Previous conference affiliation for Notre Dame required no annual commitment for football.

Q. When will Notre Dame’s football scheduling alliance with the ACC begin?

A. It is scheduled to start in 2014.

Q. How will the addition of Notre Dame alter the framework for football and basketball?

A. With the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse in 2013 and Notre Dame continuing to compete as an independent, ACC Football will continue with divisions that remain balanced (seven Atlantic Division teams, seven Coastal Division teams). Basketball, which does not compete in divisions, will use a 15 team schedule model.

Q. How will the ACC Basketball Tournament be affected?

A. With the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the ACC already anticipated a move to a five-day format. That will likely still be the case, with three games being played on Wednesday and the top-four seeds continuing to receive early-round byes.