Notre Dame is leaving the Big East and taking its non-football (and non-hockey) programs to the ACC. Some thoughts:
— Get ready for another round of “OMGLOL @ THE BIG EAST!” in the media. It certainly isn’t a good thing for the Big East image-wise, but I don’t think it’s a disaster, either. Obviously, the first thought is how this will affect the Big East’s upcoming negotiations for its new television contract. It shouldn’t make that much of a difference. Notre Dame basketball isn’t exactly the crown jewel of the whole media package the Big East is selling. The Big East is still a premier basketball league, and football is still the primary driver in all of this. NBC and FOX’s desire to get a foothold in that market– and ESPN’s desire to keep them out– is still what will drive the value of the deal.
— The big “if” in all that is assuming that the ACC stays at 15 for basketball and doesn’t add another basketball-only member from the Big East. If the ACC goes after, say, Georgetown or St. John’s, then that would be a pretty serious blow to the basketball side of the conference. That is pure speculation, though. I have no idea if the ACC sees any appeal in adding another Big East school for any reason other than symmetry. In a larger sense you have to wonder what the overall reaction of the basketball schools is to this, but I don’t think this is the catalyst for a split. They have nowhere to go and aren’t as valuable financially when separated from the football schools.
— Losing the “or Notre Dame” option doesn’t do the Big East any favors in trying to secure bowl partners. The flip side of that is that they won’t have to worry about conference members getting shut out of games in favor of Notre Dame either. Still a net loss for the Big East in my opinion. Having the Notre Dame carrot definitely made the Big East more attractive to bowl games.
— While Notre Dame remains independent in football, they will schedule 5 games per year against ACC opponents. Navy and Notre Dame are scheduled to play through 2026, but it’s only natural to wonder if Notre Dame’s new scheduling obligations will have any affect on the series after that.
— Along those lines, this is particularly noteworthy:
If changes in college football are making Notre Dame feel scheduling pressure, then that should silence any doubters who didn’t believe that similar pressures are part of what drove Navy to the Big East. It’s very real. I don’t know what this means for BYU or Army, but if they aren’t feeling that pressure now, they probably will soon. I’m sure the Big East has a place saved for either of them.
— Finally, Big East lacrosse is nothing special anymore with the losses of Syracuse and Notre Dame. After adding Loyola, the Patriot League is arguably the (distant) #2 lacrosse conference now. Not that it means anything.