Notre Dame officially said goodbye to the Big East Conference today, joining the ACC in what commissioner John Swofford called “an exciting and historic day for the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
The Irish will join in all sports except for football, which will stay independent. However, the football team has agreed to play five ACC opponents each season.
“The Atlantic Coast Conference has great history and tradition, and now, we have a much stronger base, a much broader footprint, and opportunities available to us that had not been available to us in the past,” Commissioner Swofford said.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh were also welcomed into the conference, as the ACC now holds 15 teams. Louisville will join in next year.
“As has been well-documented, the ACC has long enjoyed a rich tradition of balancing academics and athletics, and the addition of these outstanding new member institutions further strengthens our conference,” Swofford added.
Brey excited for new opportunities
Mike Brey was on hand to represent Notre Dame at the press conference. He has deep ties to the ACC, so today was a special day for him.
“Growing up a Maryland fan and an ACC basketball fan, spending eight years at Duke University as an assistant, I’ve got some great memories of the league,” he said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams, I’d be coaching in (the ACC) at the University of Notre Dame.”
Joining the ACC means a tough road for Brey and the Irish basketball team, as conference opponents like Duke, North Carolina, and former Big East foe Syracuse sit on the schedule.
“I think we’re going to quickly become the deepest and most powerful basketball conference,” he said. “I think we’ll be the league now getting eight, nine, ten (NCAA tournament) bids annually.”
Brey said he told his team winning at home will now be even more important than it was in a tough Big East.
“One of the things I told our team the other day was I think it’s going to be harder to win on the road in the ACC because everything is an on-campus facility,” he said. “You better maintain being good at home because those road atmospheres are very, very difficult.”
Brey expressed excitement on behalf of the whole university as the Irish get ready for their new conference.
“We are thrilled,” he said. “Our fan base is excited. All of our coaches in our department are very excited and proud to be connected with this. I know our football program is as well. There’s great energy about the Atlantic Coast Conference just around our whole university.”