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What do you think about the Irish coming to the ACC? Miami Hurricanes approve.

The football Hurricanes are already playing Notre Dame Oct. 6 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Better get used to it -- at least on an irregular basis.

The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents unanimously voted to accept Notre Dame as a new member. The Irish will compete as full members in all ACC-sponsored sports -- except for football.

Once Notre Dame begins competing in the ACC, the Irish will play five ACC football teams a year. However, Notre Dame will not be counted as a conference team in football. So for Miami, for example, just like this year, the game will continue to be a nonconference game.

Notre Dame football will continue to be independent and retain its TV contract, etc. It will just have to play those five ACC football teams yearly, probably on some rotating basis.

Football coach Al Golden said he loves the idea, and hopes Notre Dame will one day become a full-fledged member in football as well.

"It's a great day for the ACC,'' Golden said after practice today. "Just really excited about what our leadership is doing -- our presidents, our ADs and the conference office, really fortifying our league and making it stronger.

"We just got back from Manhattan, Kansas. We've been playing these types of games. Obviously we're playing them this year. There will be a trend once we figure out -- once everybody figures out -- how the new rankings are going to be and how the strength of schedule is, then there's going to be a new paradigm. Everybody is going to have to make their schedules based on that, because nobody is going to want to be left out because their schedule is too weak out of conference and no one is going to want to knock themselves out. So, I don't know where that medium is right now. I know this: Our league is getting better top to bottom and it starts with quarterbacks.''

Later, Golden said on the ACC Coaches' Teleconference: "I think it's great. First of all they represent what we all represent in the Atlantic Coast Conference. And when you think about it, now we're really talking about.. We have Boston, Pittsburgh and New York City now, with Pitt and Syracuse, we have all the Atlantic cities now -- D.C., Baltimore, Richmond, Charlotte all the way down to Miami. And now we're adding Notre Dame, who's got national appeal -- even though they're not a full-time football member right now -- in all the sports. And obviously we'll have a scheduling, I guess, coaltion or whatever you want to call it. All those things will benefit our product here in the ACC.''

Does Golden think Notre Dame will ultimately be a football-playing member?

"I think I share the sentiment of everybody. We would love to have them. They represent all the things we represent in the Atlantic Coast Conference, in terms of the commitment to student-athletes and graduation rates and doing things the right way. I would hope that it would be that [way] at some point, but I just found out myself. Is the ink dry yet?''

UM basketball coach Jim Larranaga was also pleased about the news.

"The best league in the country just keeps on getting better," Larranaga said in a story released by UM. "Notre Dame is a great addition to our conference because the ACC has always been about striving for excellence in the classroom and on the court."

Pittsburgh and Syracuse's addition next season will expand the league to 14 teams, and Notre Dame will make it 15. The league is not expected to add a 16th team. Notre Dame will join the ACC as soon as it can leave the Big East Conference. The Big East requires schools to pay a $5 million exit fee and give a 27-month notice before leaving.

   But Pittsburgh and Syracuse agreed to buyouts of $7.5 million in July to end their membership and join the ACC next year.

   Do you think it's a good idea? In football, Miami already will add a ninth conference opponent (Pitt will be in Miami's Coastal Division) next season. So in the years UM plays Notre Dame, the Canes would have two other nonconference opponents.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

 

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