Notre Dame to ACC: When Will Then be Now?

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Notre Dame may be looking to lock horns with the ACC for the 2014 lacrosse season.

You didn't really think that Notre Dame would quietly wait 27 months before it left the Big East for the ACC, did you? (If you did, I'd like you to invest in my dinosaur saddle business. It's going to be huge.)

Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune via SB Nation superfriends BC Interruption, it appears as if the Irish are looking to start competing in the ACC for super-famous lacrosse notoriety as early as the 2014 season:

Notre Dame has expressed interest in at least discussing leaving early," Aresco told the Tribune. "We'll have a discussion about it. (Athletic director) Jack (Swarbrick) wasn't sure what they were going to do at this point.

"He and I are going to have some discussions regarding that, but nobody has said, 'We definitely want to do 'X,' or we definitely want to do 'Y.' We'll adhere to the bylaws, and if there is a desire to do something sooner, then obviously it would have to be something we could agree to."

So, the idea of making that leap sooner than later is officially on the table. Notre Dame announced the ACC agreement on Sept. 12, and the Big East instantly pointed to the 27-month wait period mandated by its bylaws.

Asked about a potential departure date on Sept. 12, Swarbrick said in a news conference that he felt "it's in everybody's interests to try to move it along." It is expected Notre Dame aims to join the ACC for the 2013-14 sports calendar.

The move obviously has larger ramifications for football than it does lacrosse -- most football schedules are set in stone eons before the games are actually played -- but the potential for the Irish to move to the ACC in 2014 does have some potentially important impact on the lacrosse side:

  • This obviously would accelerate the ACC's opportunity to earn an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament (a bid that, in most seasons, isn't going to matter much to the league). With the ACC grabbing an auto-bid somewhat early, however, it does put a little pressure on new programs that are going independent to try and confederate on an accelerated time line and also puts pressure on programs to try -- arguably in vain -- to try and get some handshakes around out-of-conference games on an accelerated basis to try and get themselves in a decent RPI position on paper.
  • This may shape early 2014 television considerations, which if you told me that a decade ago, I'd have you committed and sharp objects drawn from your reach. The ACC is going to be a television force when Notre Dame gets on board -- as if it wasn't the dominate conference in that arena anyway -- and with additional inventory from the league, ESPN will likely respond earlier rather than later.
  • Will this potentially force the Big East's hand to try and go out of the league to bolster its conference with Notre Dame's early departure to try and subsidize the growth of Marquette and Providence's new regime? (I'd argue that's unlikely.) Will this impact how the Big East lets Notre Dame operate within the conference for lacrosse purposes? (Unlikely as well, although the league did pull the Big East Tournament from Syracuse earlier this week. At this point, you'd have to think that the league schedule is close to in-stone if not already in-stone.)

We're on the precipice, people. Put on your hard hat.

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