As the Atlantic Coast Conference, as well as the rest of college football, contemplates the reality of a season amidst a pandemic, a major change might be coming to the conference.
According to a report from Ralph Russo of the Associated Press, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, which have been a non-football member of the league since 2014, could be on the verge of joining the ACC as a football program for the 2020 football season.
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 school has notoriously remained independent for the entire length of their history of a program.
The news comes as reports have also surfaced confirming the conference’s exploration of 10 conference and one non-conference game schedules (as well as an eight-plus-one model, per David Teel of the Richmond Times-Dispatch), a model that’s also being considered by the Big 12 and SEC. The Pac-12 and Big Ten have opted to have conference-only seasons.
ACC university presidents are scheduled to have a call next Wednesday, when a final decision is expected to be made on scheduling and Notre Dame’s membership status.