ACC: Jack Swarbrick

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- Commissioner John Swofford has floated the idea of potentially playing some games overseas, but that was not a large topic of discussion during the ACC spring meetings.

Still, coaches and athletic directors weighed in on the idea. On the surface, it sounds like a game in Ireland or England could be intriguing.

"Or a nightmare," one coach said.

Depends on your point of view.

But Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick gave his enthusiastic recommendation to playing overseas after his team opened last season against Navy in Ireland.

"I think it ranks at the very top of the experiences I've had at the university," Swarbrick said. "It was remarkable. Our student athletes had a great time. It was interesting because I would tell you they were probably reluctant when we boarded the plane. Not sure they wanted to be there. To a person, they just loved it. There's a lot of magic in what happened over there in those days. It's a great thing for American universities to do. So many of them have overseas campuses. It's really great for football."

A handful of coaches who discussed the topic said they would be interested, but they needed more information about logistics.

"I think it’d be kind of exciting," North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. "I don’t know how it would work or how it would fit into your schedule. I’d have to know how it’s all going to work around it. It’s not necessarily that game or preparing for that game, but it’s the next one or the one before it."

Interestingly enough, Notre Dame did not have a bye after opening in Ireland. The Irish returned home and played Purdue the following week. Navy, on the other hand, did have a bye the following week.

"I think as long as nobody has a home-field advantage, it would be OK," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "When we went out to play Stanford, that was a nightmare for us. Time wise, the trip and playing late was crazy for us, but I think if both teams are traveling, it would be great. The trick is in scheduling, finding a way to recover when you get back. But I think it would be really cool."
The Big East and Notre Dame officially announced an agreement Tuesday morning that allows the Irish to join the ACC in all sports but football and hockey on July 1.

This decision does not impact the football scheduling agreement Notre Dame has with the ACC. That will begin in 2014.

Here are a few statements, first from ACC commissioner John Swofford.
“Our conference, schools and fans are delighted that Notre Dame will join the ACC on July 1, 2013. The addition of Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse, followed by Louisville in 2014, positions us extremely well with an outstanding collection of 15 member institutions.

“As was previously announced, our annual five games against Notre Dame in football will begin with the 2014 season. This not only will enhance our league’s already ambitious football schedules but also will provide terrific fan excitement.

"From a basketball perspective, the level of competition will be second to none. As we look towards the future, there’s no denying that ACC basketball will continue to set even higher standards of excitement and excellence. The competition will be brutal, which is a great thing for our league and fans."

And from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick:
"Notre Dame now looks forward with great anticipation to becoming a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. We are thrilled to join a great group of institutions who share our commitment to the integration of athletics into the academic mission of the university. Our coaches and student-athletes across our athletic programs are truly excited about the new challenges ahead."

ACC has no plans to add 16th team

September, 12, 2012
ACC commissioner John Swofford and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick addressed the media Wednesday and answered several questions about the Irish joining the league in all sports but football.
  • Swofford said the league has no plans to add a 16th member at this time. The big reason is because Notre Dame will not join as a football member. Adding a 16th team would throw off the football divisions; the ACC has no divisions in basketball.
  • Notre Dame plans on implementing its ACC foootball scheduling partnership in 2014, with five games against ACC schools per season. The current plan is to have Notre Dame play every ACC school at least once in a three-year period. The Irish already have future scheduling arrangements with Boston College, Pittsburgh, Miami, Wake Forest and Syracuse. Swofford and Swarbrick said they would evaluate to see if maintaining those contracts on the years they are currently scheduled would work best out of the gate. In addition, Swarbrick would not say if the annual series with Boston College would end.
  • This new partnership also means Notre Dame joins the ACC bowl lineup. Notre Dame would be an option as an opponent in the Orange Bowl. Beyond that, Notre Dame would be a potential team to play in any of the ACC contracted bowls. Its overall record would have to be better than, equal to or within one win of ACC teams available to be selected. Notre Dame would share in the revenues if selected to any of those bowls, and get an expenses allowance. If Notre Dame is picked for a BCS game, it would keep its revenues from that appearance. This bowl partnership would begin for the 2014 season.
  • Swofford said league athletic directors may revisit the decision to play a nine-game league schedule with the Notre Dame scheduling agreement. Teams like Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State would have to play their in-state rival game and Notre Dame at least once in a three-year span during nonconference.
  • On the same note, Swofford said adding Notre Dame helps boost strength of schedule, an important factor that will be considered when teams are selected for the future playoff. "When you consider the BCS going forward and how strength of schedule is going to be evaluated and monitored, this arrangement is good for our teams and I think it will be good for Notre Dame because that will be more of a factor in a team’s ability to get into the semifinals," Swofford said.
  • Swarbrick would say only that Notre Dame plans to honor its commitment to the Big East. That would require a 27-month waiting period and entry in 2015-16. But recent departing schools have left earlier.
  • By the way, the $50 million exit fee goes into effect immediately.

Notre Dame to join ACC

September, 12, 2012

Notre Dame will join the ACC as a full member with the exception of football, but will play five football games annually against ACC teams, the league announced Wednesday morning.

The Irish are currently Big East members in all sports but football. But instability in that league has left the Big East radically different than when Notre Dame first joined.

"We are committed to keeping the Atlantic Coast Conference a vibrant and competitive league dedicated to ensuring the appropriate balance of academics, athletics and integrity," the ACC Council of Presidents said in a joint statement. "The addition of Notre Dame further strengthens the rich tradition and culture of the ACC as well as allowing for future academic collaboration and we enthusiastically welcome them into the league."

ACC commissioner John Swofford said, "The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity. Our partnership with Notre Dame only strengthens this long-standing commitment. Notre Dame enhances the league’s unique blend of public and private institutions that are international in scope. The collective alumni and fan bases cover the entire country with exceptionally strong roots up and down the Atlantic Coast. This is a terrific milestone in the evolution of the ACC and showcases tremendous solidarity and vision by our Council of Presidents."

It had been speculated that Notre Dame would look for another home for its Olympic sports after Pitt, West Virginia and Syracuse left the Big East last year. Pitt and Syracuse will join the ACC in 2013, following in the footsteps of former Big East members Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College.

The Big East, meanwhile, has added eight new members and will have 12 schools competing in the league in 2013.

"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," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. "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."

The Council of Presidents also voted to increase the conference exit fee to three times the league's annual operating budget. Currently this would equate to an exit fee of more than $50 million.

Video: BCS meetings wrap-up

June, 13, 2012

Adam Rittenberg wraps up the BCS meetings Wednesday in Chicago.
If you're ACC commissioner John Swofford, you've carved out a pretty nice life for yourself lately. Less than two years ago, you landed a long-term television deal with ESPN. Less than a year ago, you secured the move of Big East bedrocks Pitt and Syracuse, making your conference the unquestioned leader in men's college basketball.

If these upcoming BCS meetings take a couple of unforeseen turns, who knows, just maybe you can provide a safe landing spot for Notre Dame, expanding your conference's footprint to the Midwest and, to an extent, across the nation in a way no other league would be able to match.

But that's another issue for another day. For now, as we said, life is good as the ACC commissioner.

As sad a commentary as it might be on the present state of college athletics, the only tangible issue for the ACC now is, frankly, a minor one: The conference has not been among the best when it comes to winning football games.

Its champion from a year ago, Clemson, was run off the field in the Orange Bowl by West Virginia, a school that valued winning the Big East so much that it is now playing in the Big 12. The runner-up, perennial conference contender Virginia Tech, managed to secure a second BCS-bowl bid for the conference, something that had never been done before. The Hokies did that despite losing the league's title game by 28 points, despite finishing four BCS spots behind Boise State (No. 7) and three spots behind Kansas State (No. 8).

Both schools went on to play in smaller bowls, and the Hokies got a trip to New Orleans, ultimately losing a winnable Sugar Bowl against Michigan. The Wolverines, by the way, did not even reach their conference championship game — they actually lost to the team that lost that game, Michigan State. But, as we said, when life is good in college football, there are benefits to be reaped.

One of those may be on display this week in South Florida, where postseason meetings will take place among the 11 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. Here, the ACC can get greedy.

The future is secure, which is more than can be said for some other conferences. But the record in BCS bowl games is 2-12, a concern generally limited to fan bases whose teams are losing big game after big game. Virginia Tech, a model of consistency in this sport, can only be tasked with carrying the mantle for the conference so much.

If a playoff format involving only conference champions arises, though, this could be the breakthrough toward occasionally cracking the nation's elite. Despite strong annual recruiting efforts from Clemson and Florida State, the ACC has shown little sign it can put multiple teams in the national title hunt every year, which is what the home of the past six national-title winners — the SEC — has been able to do.

But have one team emerge every now and then, losing one or even zero games? That's far more likely, which makes cracking a four-team playoff decided by conference winners — and thereby entering the national title picture — all the easier.

Are six consecutive national titles on the horizon for the ACC? Not exactly. But with its future secure, and its base potentially growing, this could be one small step for a conference lacking only on the scoreboard.