AP Sources: ACC, Notre Dame eye 2020 football membership

By: Ralph D. Russo, The Associated Press
Published: Friday, July 24, 2020
A Notre Dame player holds his helmet after running onto to field before an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. The Fighting Irish are scheduled to play Arkansas in 2020 and 2025, the first meeting between the programs, part of a scheduling strategy implemented by Notre Dame's longtime AD Jack Swarbrick. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
A Notre Dame player holds his helmet after running onto to field before an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. The Fighting Irish are scheduled to play Arkansas in 2020 and 2025, the first meeting between the programs, part of a scheduling strategy implemented by Notre Dame's longtime AD Jack Swarbrick. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The Atlantic Coast Conference and Notre Dame are considering whether the Fighting Irish will give up their treasured football independence to play as a member of the league for the 2020 season that has been thrown into question by the coronavirus pandemic.

Two people involved in the ACC’s discussions about scheduling for the upcoming season told The Associated Press on Friday the ACC is looking at an 11-game schedule that would include 10 conference games and start Sept. 12.

The Fighting Irish are scheduled to host Arkansas on Sept. 12.

Under the proposed plan, Notre Dame would play a full 10-game ACC schedule, the people told AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks are still ongoing and details have not been disclosed. Whether those games would count in the standings and the Irish would be eligible to participate in the ACC championship game — and be eligible for the conference’s guaranteed spot in the Orange Bowl — is still to be determined. The final decision could come down to how revenue is shared between the conference and school, one of the people said.

The ACC’s university presidents will make the final call on a scheduling model. A meeting of the presidents is scheduled for Wednesday, one of the people said.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick declined comment when contacted by the AP via text. A request for comment from the ACC was not immediately returned. Online sports network Stadium first reported Notre Dame could possibly play as an ACC team this season.

In 132 years of playing football, Notre Dame’s storied program has never competed in a conference.

Notre Dame has been a member of the ACC since 2014 for all sports but football and hockey. The Irish have had a scheduling agreement with the ACC in football under which the Notre Dame plays five or six games per season against ACC teams.

The Irish had six games scheduled against ACC teams this season, but the pandemic has forced conferences and schools to come up with alternative plans for 2020. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced they will play only conference games this season. That cost the Fighting Irish three games. ACC schools Miami and Virginia Tech also lost games.

The ACC is aiming to have a new schedule in place by next week.

A hurdle to be cleared for Notre Dame to play as a member of the ACC this season is revenue sharing.

Notre Dame has its own television deal with NBC and its own revenue sharing agreement with the College Football Playoff. Whether the ACC would get a piece of that revenue for this season still must be sorted out, one person said.

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.