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Notre Dame bolting Big East for Atlantic Coast Conference

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The University of 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 tie-ins.

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, N.C.

Notre Dame has played basketball in the Big East since 1995, 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 and North Carolina. And the league also participates in sports Notre Dame is competitive in, including lacrosse and soccer.

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."

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