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a few tidbits on the negotiation (USA Today)

by Jay ⌂, San Diego, Thursday, September 13, 2012, 08:18

Talks on this have been a year in the making. Hatch was the point man for the ACC.

Also of note: this probably reopens the ACC deal with ESPN for negotiation. That might be the biggest plum for the conference.


ACC, Notre Dame deal was long time in the making
by Thomas O'Toole, USA TODAY

Everyone, it seems, wanted Notre Dame. The Big East would have liked to have kept the Irish even as a member in all sports but football. The Big Ten had an offer on the table in the late 1990s and still never really closed the door. The Big 12 was making inquiries.

And why not? No college brand name resonates quite like Notre Dame. And when the white puffs of smoke finally became visible on Wednesday, the Atlantic Coast Conference emerged as the new landing spot for the America's best-known Catholic school.

While the announcement may have caught many in college athletes, and even some on the Notre Dame campus, by surprise, the move was in the works for more than a year.

"In some ways this has been an evolution," said Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, a former Notre Dame provost, dean and faculty member and a key player in the negotiations that landed the Fighting Irish. "These are ongoing discussions.

"It's a major change after 60 years for the ACC. But we determined it was a rare opportunity."

VIDEO: Wake Forest president on Notre Dame's ACC move

Hatch and Clemson president James Barker, along with commissioner John Swofford, were the lead negotiators with Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick and president John Jenkins. Hatch and Barker are part of the ACC's special 4-4-4 committee that has been looking at expansion. The name comes from its makeup: four university presidents, four athletics directors and four faculty members.

Discussions with Notre Dame have gone back and forth for more than a year and reached critical mass this summer after the BCS playoff format was announced.

"I do think from Notre Dame's perspective-- and they said it publicly -- they wanted the BCS matters to become stable and then at that point they would look at the issue of affiliation," said Hatch. "In terms of timing â?¦ it was the season when this could be discussed."

It helped that Swarbrick and Swofford were part of the BCS inner circle and spent so much time together the last few years that Swarbrick joked "we're going to have to pick out china soon, I think."

In June the BCS announced it would have a two-game playoff starting after the 2014 season, with participating teams chosen by a selection committee. Notre Dame has been a member of the BCS since its beginning in the late 1990s despite not having a conference affiliation. The Irish will maintain their football independence in the new configuration.

Hatch said the ACC's negotiations with Notre Dame "came to a head in the last few days." The 4-4-4 committee met Tuesday and made a recommendation to conference presidents Tuesday night and the decision was made.

"Importantly," said Swarbrick, "this is a story of moving to something great, not away from something."

While football will not be a full member, the deal includes five ACC teams playing Notre Dame each season. When that rotation begins is unclear because the Irish still must withdraw from the Big East. It will likely not happen next fall but could be sooner than the 27 months required in the Big East bylaws.

"People would like it to happen as soon as possible," said Hatch.

The ACC will rotate its football games with Notre Dame through scheduling done by the conference. Hatch said this is not a situation where Notre Dame would set up its own games with ACC schools. The Irish will be part of the ACC bowl structure, though not eligible to take the league's spot in the Orange Bowl, where the conference champ will play. It is possible the ACC champ could meet Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, however.

Changing its structure allows the ACC to renegotiate its contract with ESPN, something Swofford and the network have acknowledged. Hatch even said there have been some preliminary discussions.

No one on Wednesday would say this move takes the Irish a step closer to being a full conference member. The school has steadfastly protected its football independence. "I don't think it would be right to see this as a step to something else," said Hatch. But he added, "We love having Notre Dame as part of the long-term strategic planning."

Other leagues quickly reacted to the move. Said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby: "Everybody knows that Jack (Swarbrick) and I are friends, long-time friends. We had some conversations. There wasn't much that we could do or that they could count on us doing until we got our TV deal put together. There were just too many moving parts prior to that.

"We have always said and continue to believe that bigger is not necessarily better. I like and I think our members like the configuration we have with 10. I like our path to the postseason in football. I like the fact that we're playing a full round-robin in football and men's and women's basketball. More than that our distributable revenue is consistent. We feel pretty good about where we are."

Said Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany in a release:

"Today's announcement ... was not a surprise. Both the Big 12 and the ACC have openly expressed an interest in adding Notre Dame to their conference ...

"The announcement by the ACC is further indication that the tectonic plates underlying conference affiliation are still warm. As always, we will continue to monitor the landscape.

"We are very pleased with both our current conference membership and our conference structure."



A surprisingly not-terribly-douchey sound bite from Delany

by Deshi Basara, Indy, Thursday, September 13, 2012, 09:18 @ Jay

I'm disappointed.

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