|espnW.com: College Sports|
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.
Notre Dame officials have indicated previously that the Irish would seek an earlier exit from the Big East if the Catholic 7 schools departed before 2014. Notre Dame announced last year it was joining the ACC in all sports, except football.
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.
Last week, Swarbrick told ESPN's Matt Fortuna that each day that goes by makes it more difficult for the Fighting Irish to change leagues than the previous day.
Big East by-laws require that schools must provide 27 months' notice before leaving, so Notre Dame couldn't bolt from the league until 2015, unless the school negotiated an earlier exit.
The Big East previously offered Notre Dame the chance for an earlier exit if the Fighting Irish would schedule future football games against Big East opponents, a source said.
But Notre Dame, with five annual games against ACC opponents starting in 2014, told the Big East it didn't have any future openings and was unable to accommodate the request.
Notre Dame and the Big East now must come to an agreement if the Fighting Irish want to join the ACC this summer.
"Nobody's going to let Notre Dame just leave," a Big East source said. "It needs to be negotiated."
Unlike other league members, Notre Dame has a unique situation with the Big East that if it provides 27 months' notice, the school does not have to pay an exit fee. Other league members must provide the 27 months' notice and pay the league's exit fee, currently $10 million. To leave before 27 months, Big East schools have negotiated paying higher exit fees.
If Notre Dame does join the ACC this fall, the ACC would have 15 basketball members for the 2013-14 season.
The ACC already determined that it would play an 18-game league basketball schedule in 2013-14, featuring home-and-away series against four opponents and one game each against the remaining 10 opponents.
The league announced last fall Notre Dame, whenever it joined the league, annually would play home-and-away basketball contests against two permanent opponents -- Georgia Tech and Boston College. The other two home-and-away opponents would be determined annually on a rotating basis.
While Notre Dame tries to negotiate its way into the ACC this summer, two other departing Big East schools must remain in the league another season.
Louisville, which is headed to the ACC, and Rutgers, headed to the Big Ten, can't join their respective leagues until July 1, 2014. Neither conference is prepared to add those schools in 2013, in part because it would cause unbalanced football divisions.