On Monday, NDTex did a fantastic job of laying out the three possible scenarios that seem to exist for Notre Dame when it comes to leaving the Big East for the ACC. In short, here are the three options:
1. Join the ACC a year earlier
2. Stay with the Big East for 2013-14
3. Join the Catholic 7 as a one-year stopgap.
For most fans, one solution seems to make the most sense and is ultimately preferable: get to the ACC as soon as possible.
I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed in Jack Swarbrick slow-playing this issue. It is clear that our time with the Big East is done — we have decided that the conference is not the best fit for us athletically and academically, and the ACC has better weather too — that’s just icing on the cake. Pitt and Syracuse will also be abandoning the Big East for the ACC in 2013, so the timing seems to make sense — we should all make the move together.
The big hold-up over whether we would shift to the ACC in 2013-14 or 2014-15 has always come down to one thing: money (doesn’t it always?). If Notre Dame wants to move to the ACC before the current contract with the Big East runs out (after 2013-14), the school would have to pay between a five-to-ten million dollar exit fee. However, if the school waits it out, the contract ends naturally and Notre Dame doesn’t owe the Big East a dime when it makes the move.
Of course, there’s several ways to look at this. One might say, if the ACC is where we want to be, let’s get there now, and if we have to pay a little extra, so be it. After all, we tout a building with a gold roof, right? What’s a few million here or there when you sport a nine billion dollar endowment?
On the other hand, why spend unnecessarily? Jack Swarbrick’s view on the situation has always been “If we can go to the ACC and pay ten million dollars, or go to the ACC for free by waiting a year, B is the correct option.”
But now the Catholic 7 has really started to complicate things.
Yesterday, USA Today reported that it is fact likely that Notre Dame will be accelerated into the ACC in 2013, after the Catholic 7 agreed to buy the Big East name and break away from the former conference in July:
Notre Dame, which is taking its teams (other than football, which remains an independent) to the ACC, is expected to join that league in the fall.
It cost the Catholic 7 $100 million to buy the Big East label, and it is a cost that they believe will be worth the lofty price (The Catholic 7 will get to have its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden as part of the deal, too). Also, with the official breakup of the Big East set to occur in July, Notre Dame should be free to choose its own course of action.
At that point, we won’t owe the former Big East a cent, and it makes little sense to take a one-year vacation as a part of the new Big East — especially when we are fighting with some of its members.
I think the stage is set for us to make the move to the ACC immediately. It is our future home for all sports except football and hockey, and is one that I, for one, am extremely thrilled about. Quite frankly, I’m ready to move in.