Notre Dame Fighting Irish in preliminary talks to leave Big East in 2013

Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images

Notre Dame in preliminary talks to leave Big East for 2013.

The Chicago Tribune gives details on Notre Dame's desire to start the caravan for ACC country a few years earlier than the Big East bylaw-mandated 27-month waiting period:

"Notre Dame has expressed interest in at least discussing leaving early," [Big East Commissioner Mike] Aresco told the Tribune. "We'll have a discussion about it. (Athletic director) Jack (Swarbrick) wasn't sure what they were going to do at this point.

"He and I are going to have some discussions regarding that, but nobody has said, 'We definitely want to do 'X,' or we definitely want to do 'Y.' We'll adhere to the bylaws, and if there is a desire to do something sooner, then obviously it would have to be something we could agree to."...

Asked about a potential departure date on Sept. 12, Swarbrick said in a news conference that he felt "it's in everybody's interests to try to move it along." It is expected Notre Dame aims to join the ACC for the 2013-14 sports calendar.

Though Aresco wasn't around to negotiate it -- he was named Big East commissioner in August -- West Virginia navigated a departure from the league in four months, and that was with two lawsuits and a mediator involved. Thus the Mountaineers began Big 12 play for the 2012-13 year after a $20 million exit.

The Fighting Irish announced their program's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference on September 12th. The change in affiliation comes with the stipulation that their football program remains technically independent, but will play five ACC schools each year - over half of what a conference schedule would dictate.

Irish football is a hot commodity, but a non-factor for the Big East's potential media rights dealings. The biggest blow - and it's not huge damage - is to Big East basketball, which loses a solid program that ends up in the top half of the table each year. The Irish have failed to reach the second week of the NCAA Tournament each year, having last reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2003. Still, the loss is mostly image; Syracuse and Pitt have been more successful basketball programs in the regular and postseason, despite Mike Brey's three Big East Coach of the Year awards.

Despite that, men's basketball coach Mike Brey wants to maintain acquaintances, scheduling Big East teams like St. John's and Georgetown in non-conference play after the Irish leave the conference. (Tidbit: The idea of scheduling the Irish' men's hoops teams received an overwhelming NO from Rumble in the Garden voters in the poll, in article above.)

It is likely that the Irish will negotiate an earlier exit from the Big East conference; the program brings in enough money from their exclusive football TV-rights deal with NBC to pay for early-exit penalties. West Virginia paid or gave up rights to $20 million to separate from the Big East Conference more quickly than Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Syracuse and Pittsburgh paid $7.5 million.

West Virginia began Big 12 play this season, while Pitt and Cuse start ACC play in 2013 - when Notre Dame would like to see their non-football sports officially join the southeastern-based conference.

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