- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick maintained Wednesday that the decision to jump to the ACC had nothing to do with instability in the Big East.
Addressing questions about why the Irish made the move at this time, Swarbrick essentially said the postseason bowl picture was the overriding reason.
"It’s really related to the BCS," Swarbrick said on a conference call with reporters. "It wasn’t about any changes in the Big East. It wasn’t about media contracts. It was once we had an understanding of how the BCS would work, our focus turned to the other elements of postseason, everything below that. It was just the time to take a look at what our future held."
Notre Dame does not really have yearly bowl tie-ins. It had a bowl arrangement with the Big East that is not nearly as strong as the one it got from the ACC. Under Big East terms, Notre Dame got a spot in a Big East bowl game once every four years if the Irish were at least 7-5 and within two wins of an eligible Big East team. That happened last year, when the Champs Sports Bowl picked Notre Dame.
Now, Notre Dame will be a part of the ACC bowl lineup every year and eligible for selection if its overall record is better than, equal to or within one win of ACC teams available. This will probably give the ACC more options when it comes to renegotiating bowl contracts. The Big East had this bowl arrangement with Notre Dame for that very reason.
"For us, this was not about going from something. It was about going to something, and the opportunities especially on the academic front we think the ACC offers," Swarbrick said. "I’m bullish on the Big East. I think with the leadership of Mike Aresco, with the moves they’ve made to add other institutions. ... I’ve already seen people interpret this move as having strong negative consequences for the Big East. I don’t share that view."