The ACC has announced the addition of Notre Dame as a 15th member of the league in all sports except football. However the new arrangement stipulates that Notre Dame will schedule five ACC teams in football annually. This move is just the latest in game of conference musical chairs and deals a serious blow to the already struggling Big East. It also takes one of the biggest plums off the market in Notre Dame, a school that has been bantered around for a possible move to the Big Ten or Big 12.
The full press release from the ACC can be found here. In the release, John Swofford notes that the addition of Notre Dame only serves to strengthen the ACC's commitment to "the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity." At 12:30 PM, a press conference will be held in Chapel HIll discussing Notre Dame's move to the ACC which can be seen here.
In addition to accepting Notre Dame as a partial member, ACC presidents also raised the league's exit fee to $50 million. That is clearly set to deter any ACC schools from leaving or give them a moment's pause. A fee that large would serve to negate any perceived short term financial benefits a school might see in jumping to the Big 12 or SEC.
Overall, this is a good day for the ACC. The addition of Notre Dame augments the overall league profile in a variety of sports, most notably basketball and soccer. The addition of five football guaranteed football games versus ACC teams means the Fighting Irish are as close as they have ever been to dropping their independent tag in football and joining a conference. As Dan Patrick aptly put it this morning, the Irish have "their feet in the water." If they have come that far, it wouldn't take much for them to bite the bullet and jump into the pool.
UPDATE: T.H. makes a great point on Twitter about a potential 16th team.
Put me in the “no 16th team for a few years camp.” You wait and see whether ND jumps all-in once the NBC contract expires in 2015.
The disposition of Notre Dame's NBC contract could make or break the Irish as an independent. Even if it doesn't, some sort of new package could garner the ACC some extra money. At any rate, since there is no one school out there that screams "must have" then the ACC can afford to show some patience and see how things shake out.