SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) _ Notre Dame is leaving the Big East for
the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports but football.

The ACC and Notre Dame said Wednesday that the school will play
five football games annually against the league’s programs, while

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement
that the Irish will also have access to the ACC’s non-BCS bowl

The move allows the Irish to maintain football independence,
while the ACC is making an exception to its all-or-nothing
requirement for schools to be full members. ACC Commissioner John
Swofford said in a statement the move was “a terrific milestone in
the evolution of the ACC and showcases tremendous solidarity and
vision by our Council of Presidents.”

Along with inviting Notre Dame, the ACC also says it has
increased its exit fees for the conference’s schools to three times
the league’s annual operation budget– which would currently come
to more than $50 million.

It was not clear when the realignment will take effect. The ACC
scheduled a news conference for Wednesday afternoon in Chapel Hill,

Notre Dame has played basketball in the Big East for years, but
Syracuse and Pitt are leaving the league along with West Virginia–
and now Notre Dame. In the ACC, the Irish will face traditional
powers like Duke, North Carolina and the league also fits the
sports Notre Dame is competitive in, including: lacrosse and

The ACC in turn gets one of the nation’s premier football
programs, raising its profile alongside the likes of Florida State,
Miami, Virginia Tech and Clemson.

“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 Jenkins.

“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.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)