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Irish headed to ACC

Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference for all sports but football and hockey, according to a statement released Wednesday morning by the conference's council of presidents.

The Irish will play five football games against ACC opponents each season as part of the agreement, but will remain without a conference affiliation for the sport. Notre Dame football will benefit from a connection to the conference's postseason bowl affiliations. The hockey team will join the Hockey East in 2013 as previously scheduled.

"We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us," said athletic director Jack Swarbrick. "We are able to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACC's non-BCS bowl package, and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports."

Notre Dame is eligible to leave the Big East in 27 months, but may negotiate a price to leave earlier.

The conference's statement also said they intended to raise their own exit fee to $50 million, likely in an effort to entice schools like Clemson and Florida State to stay where they are.

"The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity," said commissioner John Swofford. "Our partnership with Notre Dame only strengthens this long-standing commitment. Notre Dame enhances the league's unique blend of public and private institutions that are international in scope. The collective alumni and fan bases cover the entire country with exceptionally strong roots up and down the Atlantic Coast. This is a terrific milestone in the evolution of the ACC and showcases tremendous solidarity and vision by our Council of Presidents."

A press conference hosted by the conference is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Notre Dame is also expected to make a formal announcement later today.

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