The tradition of Notre Dame athletics is rooted in football, not basketball. Here, coach Ara Parseghian is carried off by players after the Irish beat previously undefeated Alabama in the 1973 Sugar Bowl.
The announcement on Notre Dame's website came with this blaring headine: "Notre Dame To Join The Atlantic Coast Conference In 2013-14 Season."
I'm here to dispute the complete accuracy of that.
This really is not meant to be a bang-on-the-ACC blog because there is some value in the conference being able to add Notre Dame to basketball (and the other sports we seldom talk about).The Irish will enter the ACC a year earlier than expected, joining Syracuse and Pitt in 2013 and Louisville in 2014. Even those who find college sports' conference Armageddon nauseating (me included) can't deny that the ACC brand will benefit somewhat in basketball.
But it's not football.
I've never understood the ACC's deal with Notre Dame. A school hasn't truly joined a conference unless it has joined in football, because that's where the money and traditions are -- especially for a school like Notre Dame. Notre Dame saying it is a part of the ACC for everything except football is like "Bones" saying it will cater your office party, but not include any meat products.
The original ACC-Notre Dame agreement last September calls for the Irish to remain an Independent in football but play five games per season against conference schools, beginning in 2014. It will not play a full conference schedule. It will not eligible for the conference championship. But it will become a part of the ACC's bowl arrangement (non-BCS).
In the original announcement, the ACC referred to the replatonship as "unique" and "a hybrid that allows Notre Dame the ability to preserve its football independence while integrating the Fighting Irish into the league."
So if Notre Dame is allowed to preserve its football Independence, how does the conference benefit?
It seems to be that Notre Dame isn't a partner with the ACC at all. They're just sleeping in the house.