Following are comments from Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick regarding the University's agreement to join the Athletic Coast Conference in all sports save football.
Jack Swarbrick - Transcript
"I'm not sure I could imagine a more appropriate setting for this announcement than this venue. In my first year as director of athletics for the University of Notre Dame, we played here (in Chapel Hill, North Carolina). In the pre-game period as I walked campus with my family - I had not visited here before so I took the opportunity to walk around - I was struck by how the atmosphere here was like it is at our home games. How welcoming people were as they identified us as visitors and part of the Notre Dame family.
"Its that welcoming nature, that same approach toward athletics and its role in a University that makes us so pleased to be here today. Sports has always played a very specific role at Notre Dame, it has two functions. One is to contribute to the education of students and the other is to promote the University. This partnership helps us do both effectively.
"By joining such a prestigious group of Universities who share our commitment to athletics as an educational vehicle, not as something secondary to the mission of education, but as something core to it, we will further the education of our student-athletes. And by being part of a conference with such a perfect geographic fit for us, we are able to effectively promote our University.
"For example, over the next five years, in part to this athletic partnership, we'll be able to be in 10 of the 11 largest cities in America with our football program to help promote our University. And that's what we think it should do, promote the educational mission.
"The competitive result is also great. I met this morning with our coaches and informed them for the first time what would happen and their reaction was very positive. Coach (Mike) Brey, our head basketball coach who's very familiar with this part of the world, has joined us today. And what they were especially excited about were the competitive implications for them. I think unquestionably, in a host of sports, this is the best athletic conference in the country and we will only make it better in that regard.
"Importantly this is a story of moving to something great, not away from something. We are very thankful for the opportunity to be a member of the Big East. We will continue to be a committed member during the remainder of our stay in that conference and it has been a good home for us. But for the reasons I stated, this creates a new and exciting opportunity for us to advance even further. To serve the mission of athletics at Notre Dame and in that regard we are very thankful to this conference and its leadership.
"Presidents (Holden) Thorpe (North Carolina) and (James) Baker (Clemson) and (Nathan) Hatch (Wake Forest) played such an important role in making this possible. Special thanks to Commissioner (John) Swofford, he and I have spend a lot of time together over the past two years -- we're going to have to pick out china together soon -- with all the BCS meetings we attended. And it was a natural by-product of the relationship we built through that process that these discussion began.
"Special thanks from my perspective to the leadership of our University. Father Jenkins has been such a great partner to me in working through the difficult issues related to all this. To him, our executive leadership, and especially our Board of Trustees, I say thank you.
"On behalf of the coaches and student-athletes of the University of Notre Dame, we thank you, and give you our commitment to be a great member of this great conference."