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Notre Dame will leave Big East, follow Syracuse and Pittsburgh to ACC

Sep 12, 2012, 10:06 AM EDT

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Notre Dame has accepted an invitation from the ACC to join the conference in all sports with the exception of football, the league announced Wednesday.

In football, the Irish will now play five games per season against ACC schools.

“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 released at 10 a.m. “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.”

Rumors had been circulating about a possible Notre Dame move to the ACC, culminating in Wednesday’s announcement.

“The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity,” Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford said in the release. “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.”

This move marks the next step in the mass exodus of schools from the Big East to the ACC, with Notre Dame following Pittsburgh and Syracuse out the door.

New Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has been on the job for just under a month and now sees another major basketball program depart.

The move gains importance with one other fact: The Big East is preparing to begin negotiations on a new television deal, which was a major reason Aresco, a former TV executive at CBS, was hired as commissioner.

In addition to adding Notre Dame to the league, the ACC also raised its exit fee to $50 million, a move to secure its assets and prevent schools from defecting from the conference.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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