Just when I thought realignment was over .... the Big East got trimmed (yet again) as the Atlantic Coast Conference announced the inclusion of Notre Dame into the coastal fold.
The Fighting Irish follow the footsteps of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who will officially switch from the Big East to the ACC effective next season. Notre Dame's entrance date is still unknown, as the hurdles of getting out of their current conference agreement could take up to 27 months. Pitt and Syracuse were allowed to reduce that time by paying additional buyout fees.
Notre Dame is joining the conference in every conference-sanctioned sport other than football, but did make a deal to play five ACC football games a year, or basically a 1/2 conference schedule. It is expected that the Irish will fulfill its plan to move to Hockey East as the ACC does not sanction that sport.
"We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us," Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame Vice President and Director of Athletics, said in the release. "We are able to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACC's non-BCS bowl package, and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports."
This move will bring the ACC membership to 15 teams in most sports, including women's basketball. Last season, Duke won the conference with a 15-1 mark (27-6 overall), with Miami (26-6, 14-2 ACC), Maryland (31-5, 12-4 ACC) and Goergia Tech (26-9, 12-4 ACC) close behind. The Notre Dame women won the Big East in 2012, and made their second NCAA championship game in a row before falling to Baylor.