Notre Dame Must Become a Full Member of the ACC To Play In the Football Championship Game

Notre Dame Must Become a Full Member of the ACC To Play In the Football Championship Game
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Jul 24, 2020

Photo Credit: Harley Taylor

The renowned David Teel broke some surprising news today that Notre Dame reportedly will be eligible for the 2020 ACC Championship pending presidential approval (unclear if that is the other 14 university presidents, John Swofford, both, etc).

This comes after news that Notre Dame is likely to be included in the ACC's new scheduling for the 2020 season. Teel also seemed to hint in the comments that part of the deal may include ACC programs receiving some portion of Notre Dame football's NBC TV revenue.

Now that does like a reasonable compromise for allowing Notre Dame to assemble an ACC schedule for the 2020 season after the Big 10 and Pac-12 went with conference-only schedules. However, one year of a small TV revenue boost isn't enough to make Notre Dame a conference title eligible member of the ACC for 2020.

Working with Notre Dame also helps boost the profile for ACC games and also can help the conference in national rankings especially given how there will be an extremely low amount of non-conference games with 2 of the 5 Power 5 conferences not taking part in those.

Given that, coming to a deal with Notre Dame that allows them to work as a hybrid ACC football member for this season makes sense for boths sides.

However, there is only one way that Notre Dame should be allowed to compete for the ACC Championship in 2020.

Notre Dame must commit to joining the conference full-time within the next four years.

Now I get that it isn't that simple and may not be able to happen formally until 2023 given the fact that Notre Dame currently has more than four non-ACC opponents during 2021 and 2022 already scheduled (and 2025 as well). That's why making Notre Dame sign a contract to join within four years, with financial consequence for failing to do so, should be a must to ensure it happens.

There are also the TV challenges with Notre Dame joining the ACC, but that would seem to be simpler to work out with Notre Dame's current NBC deal for home games simply joining the ACC package and then ND being worked in as part of an ACC package once that deal wraps up.

Of course, Notre Dame's independence is something they cherish and have tried to avoid giving up, but giving up their independnce hasn't damaged big name programs in the past like when Penn State joined the Big 10 originally or more recently, Navy joining the AAC.

However, if Notre Dame wants to compete for a title that only ACC football members can compete for, than they must also join the conference in full. The quality of the ACC Championship game will not suffer whatsoever if Notre Dame isn't allowed to be eligible for it. That game will be on national TV regardless and likely in primetime on ABC as it has been for years now.

The only side that has anything to gain from Notre Dame being eligible to play in the ACC Championship is Notre Dame.

Now Notre Dame fans may claim that this somehow isn't but if they wanted to compete for an ACC football title, then they should have joined the ACC in football as well. They didn't and the ACC has no need to allow them to do so just for one season without them joining full-time.

The Atlantic Coast Conference isn't a major collegiate athletic charity, it's a business and the 14 football members gain nothing from Notre Dame being eligible for the ACC Championship without joining the conference full-time for good.

Notre Dame has one question they must answer; do you want to preserve your independence or do you want to compete for an ACC football title?

If the answer is still the former, then you shouldn't have the opportunity to compete for the latter.