Notre Dame to Join ACC; League's Lacrosse Officially Beyond Bonkers

May 20, 2012; Chester, PA USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish attack Ryan Foley (15) drives against Virginia Cavaliers Scott McWilliams (27) during the 1st half of the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Quarterfinals at PPL Park in Chester. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

The ACC is going to become, like, a real lacrosse conference, you guys. This is creepy and weird and makes me wonder if humanity has finally reached its apex, falling -- eventually -- into chaos where everyone wears threads of bullets draped over their shoulders and appear to have not washed or cut their hair for the better part of two years. So, yeah, this is all new and exciting and really dramatic.

The ACC officially announced this morning that Notre Dame -- a program that has made seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, holds three trips to Championship Weekend, and was the national runner-up in 2010 -- is set to join the conference as a full competition member except in football:

The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to accept the University of Notre Dame as a new member. The Irish will compete as full members in all conference sponsored sports with the exception of football which will play five games annually against league programs.

"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," said the ACC Council of Presidents in a joint statement. "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."

The timetable for the Irish's participation in the ACC is somewhat unclear, but Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated notes that Notre Dame cannot leave the Big East without penalty until the 2015-2016 season. I have no idea what, exactly, that means in terms of the Irish's ability -- or desire -- to abandon the Big East in a sea of sadness to join the ACC at an earlier date.

When the Irish eventually get to the ACC to throw hands with Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Syracuse, a lot of stuff is going to be going on. To the important bullet points!

  • Deathstar: Engage! -- Do you really understand what this creates in the ACC? I mean, this is absolutely nuts. The conference will claim, upon Notre Dame's inclusion, 22 national champions, 45 title game appearances, 91 Championship Weekend appearances, 160 NCAA Tournament appearances, and six teams that have sat at the top of the polls more times than I am willing to count. The ACC becomes not just a lacrosse conference filled with some of the most tradition-rich programs in the country, but programs that have -- and will -- continue to sit toward the top of the nation for years to come. People have started to compare ACC lacrosse to SEC football, but ACC lacrosse will move beyond that upon the Irish's participation in the league for one simple fact: There are no Mississippis or Vanderbilts that occasionally jump up and surprise; this is top-to-bottom quality that has no peer.
  • The ACC is Actually Real Now -- The Irish's inclusion in the league will finally give the ACC -- at some point -- six participating members, the baseline number for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. (It's not like the league's members really need an automatic invitation on a year-in and year-out basis to make the show in May as the the vast majority -- if not all -- of the league has the chops to make the selection cut on an at-large basis.) As Terry Foy points out, there is going to be a three-year grace period, but that doesn't erode the fact that the ACC Tournament will now hold actual tangible value instead of masquerading as an RPI-booster and nothing more. The residue of all this is whether the realignment pushes the NCAA to expand the men's tournament in some fashion to adjust for the ACC's automatic bid, but we'll get to that at some point later today.
  • Send Tissues to Providence -- Man, the Big East is totally screwed. This is a league that was formed, in large part, to help bolster the efforts of the totality of the league. With Syracuse as the cornerstone and Notre Dame as a rising tent pole, the league's members were investing in their programs around the notion that the Orange's and Irish's success would create a rising tide for everyone. An automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament was finally earned last year. St. John's and Villanova were rapidly improving. Marquette was coming on board. And then it all fell apart: The Orange's departure for the 2014 season would leave the league at six members (battered but still alive), although prohibiting yearly games against a marquee opponent; the Irish's departure -- at some point -- will drop the Big East's playing membership to only five losing an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament and (Eds. Note: The Big East will be at six members. Apologies. Marquette's participation arc messes with my head melon.) depleting the league of yet another national power. As Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times notes:

Good God. That's . . . that's not even the Patriot League, son.

The comments are open for you to unleash. I'll have more stuff later.

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