CLEMSON — Notre Dame joined the ACC for a full football season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Could the Irish consider joining the league as a full-time member in the coming years?
There is plenty of speculation out there now after a sub-group of the College Football Playoff’s management committee presented a proposal to change the CFP to a 12-team format last week.
The proposal states that the four highest-ranked conference champions would be seeded one through four and each would receive a first-round bye. That means Notre Dame would never be seeded higher than No. 5 and would be unable to earn a first-round bye, as things currently stand.
Clemson Athletics Director Dan Radakovich was asked about Notre Dame potentially joining the ACC last week on SportsTalkSC and explained how it could benefit Clemson and the rest of the ACC.
There’s no denying that the Irish would immediately become one of the toughest programs for Clemson to compete against for league titles, but from a financial standpoint the Tigers could benefit greatly.
“It’s one of the things that commissioner [Jim] Phillips is very, very high on his list is to be able to look at our conference and our television agreement and how we would go about creating the best opportunity for the teams in the ACC to be able to be competitive on a national landscape,” Radakovich said. “One of the openers of the contract is a change in membership.”
The ESPN and ACC agreed to a new 20-year deal in 2016. It is scheduled to run through the 2035-36 academic year.
However, the deal can be re-negotiated if there is an addition to the conference. Adding Notre Dame would certainly be a big addition and would improve the ACC’s value.
“The idea of Notre Dame coming in in football would be exactly that, a change in membership,” Radakovich said. “So if we’re able to do that, I think it certainly could help Notre Dame under some of the scenarios that were given today, but certainly help the ACC down the road.”
Notre Dame is currently a full-time participant in all sports in the ACC, other than football and men’s hockey. The Irish currently play five ACC football games per year.
Clemson and Notre Dame met twice last season as the Irish played a full ACC schedule, beating Clemson in the regular season before losing to the Tigers in the ACC Championship game.
The two teams are next scheduled to meet in 2022 in South Bend.