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Conference Realignment: Notre Dame to Start ACC Play in 2013-2014?

Lacrosse Voltron may come together to smash faces next season.

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Our Connecticut site, The UConn Blog, probably put it best:

So, will this actually happen? Will Notre Dame join Syracuse in the ACC next spring, forming a six-team death star with Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia? Tell us everything we need to know, McSources:

The ACC will allow Notre Dame to join the league this summer if the Fighting Irish can exit the Big East Conference, sources told ESPN.

Notre Dame intended to stay in the Big East through the 2013-14 season as long as the league's seven Catholic basketball schools remained. But those schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova -- are expected to announce in the coming days they are leaving the Big East to begin their own league on July 1.

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ACC commissioner John Swofford and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick have said there wasn't a firm deadline in which Notre Dame would have to inform the ACC of its intention to join in 2013.

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"Nobody's going to let Notre Dame just leave," a Big East source said. "It needs to be negotiated."

From this, for lacrosse purposes, there are two things that are so important that they should come with a label with bright orange lettering:

  • Given that the Atlantic Sun is -- somehow -- getting a flash automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament next season, will the ACC -- potentially bloated with six teams -- also get the same treatment for just one season? And if so, how does that impact the overall construct of the NCAA Tournament field (depending on what other leagues do)? Play-in game?
  • If Notre Dame parks itself in the ACC next season, the Big East (Catholic Seven-style) is still meandering about with just five teams -- Providence, St. John's, Marquette, Georgetown, and Villanova -- and no conclusive feeling as to whether: (1) the league will receive an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament based on the relationship between NCAA-provided grace periods and the uncertainty in the application of the rules to a newly-formed league with static lacrosse members from a prior league that held an auto-bid; and (2) the league will sponsor men's lacrosse, creating a situation where those lacrosse-playing members will need to find drop zones in the very near future.

I really can't foresee a situation where Notre Dame doesn't cut a check, but you never know. We now must wait, hiding under the bed until the conference realignment sirens are silenced.