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Football Independence Could Help Notre Dame Join ACC For 2013 Season

Confused?

ESPN just reported that the ACC would allow Notre Dame to join its conference this summer, provided the Irish are able to exit the Big East. The recent split of the 'Catholic 7' from the (what will soon be former) Big East may wind up accelerating Notre Dame's move.

According to ESPN, Notre Dame's plan to join the ACC in 2014 was contingent upon those seven schools staying in the Big East another season.

"Notre Dame officials have indicated previously that the Irish would seek an earlier exit from the Big East if the Catholic 7 schools departed before 2014. Notre Dame announced last year it was joining the ACC in all sports, except football."

But why, you ask, is Louisville not allowed the same option? It's actually pretty simple. Louisville is replacing Maryland after the 2013-2014 season, and the Cardinals will be playing football in the ACC. Adding them now would create an unbalanced schedule this fall. Notre Dame, on the other hand, is independent in football, so the addition of the Irish doesn't affect the 2013 schedules already released. Of course, it will make the ACC a 15-team league in basketball, but that's going to be the case either way.

A Big East source told ESPN that it's not a done deal.

"Nobody's going to let Notre Dame just leave," a Big East source said. "It needs to be negotiated."

But if it's just a money issue, expect Notre Dame to pay whatever negotiated fee it needs to. I doubt we'll be seeing Notre Dame vs. Houston or SMU on the hardwood - but that's just my opinion.