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Notre Dame To Join ACC With Football Exception

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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will join the ACC in all sports except football and hockey.

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The ACC announced on Wednesday that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will join the conference as a full member in all sports except football and hockey. The conference also announced that the Irish have agreed to play five games annually against ACC teams in football. The move will become official whenever Notre Dame exits the Big East, though the timeline for that scenario is still up in the air.

Notre Dame's hockey team, which currently plays in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, announced last October that it would join the Hockey East starting with the 2013-14 season. The ACC does not offer Division I hockey.

Notre Dame's shift in conferences comes on the heels of defections to the ACC by the Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange, both longtime Big East stalwarts. The Fighting Irish, of course, have long been the jewel of conference expansion, having been courted by various conferences over the years.

In a statement, Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins praised the conference's academics, and said that the ACC is the right fit for the school.

"The ACC is composed of some of the most highly respected universities in the country, and we at Notre Dame look forward to joining them," said Notre Dame President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. "With a mix of institutions - many of which are also private, similar to Notre Dame in size, and committed to excellence in research and undergraduate education - the ACC is an exceptionally good fit for us academically, as well as athletically."

The addition of Notre Dame along with the new partnership in football strengthens a conference whose recent television deal with ESPN was seen by many as a disappointment.

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