Syracuse Orange: Notre Dame must join ACC for football or put a sock in it

Syracuse Orange (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse Orange (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

It remains to be seen whether the Syracuse Orange and its fellow Atlantic Coast Conference peers will see their league’s membership grow, although media reports appear to indicate there’s not much doing at this time.

Of course, the chaos that is conference realignment is fluid and can change at any moment, so buckle up, my fellow Syracuse Orange sports fans.

That being said, as some reports surfaced on Wednesday night, one thing became abundantly clear, at least to me anyway. Notre Dame needs to put up or shut up.

What do I mean by that? Well, reports this week have stated that ACC leaders have discussed the possibility of adding Pac-12 Conference members Stanford and California, as well as SMU out of the American Athletic Conference.

On Wednesday evening, as first reported by Larry Williams of, Notre Dame is (or was) pushing for the ACC to add both Stanford and California. ESPN’s Pete Thamel and Andrea Adelson, among others, have reported that the ACC bringing on board California and Stanford has “hit significant roadblocks.”

The Syracuse Orange and other ACC schools are awaiting to see if their league expands.

Brett McMurphy of The Action Network quoted an ACC source as saying, “Notre Dame initiated us bringing on Stanford and Cal and continues to push, yet Notre Dame won’t join the ACC as a full-time member. That doesn’t make sense to us.”

"In her own tweet, The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach wrote, “As @LarryWilliamsTI (Larry Williams of reported earlier, Notre Dame is indeed among those pushing for these additions, source confirmed. Of course, that begs the question: If it’s such a good setup for Stanford and Cal, why isn’t Notre Dame a full ACC member?”"

The Fighting Irish is an ACC member in every sport, except football. Notre Dame is an independent in football, as the school has a sizable television contract with NBC. I’m sure all of the power conferences would love to have the Fighting Irish join their leagues in football, including the ACC.

I see reports and chatter swirling all the time about conferences possibly making overtures to Notre Dame for the Fighting Irish to come on board as a full member, with that including football. Selfishly, I think that Notre Dame should have its football program in the ACC, along with all other sports.

However, if the powers that be elect to stay independent in football, and collect a ton of cash in their TV contract with NBC, that’s their right. I get it. Football and television revenue rule collegiate athletics these days.

In my humble opinion, and I’ve seen a lot of others echo this sentiment over the last 24 hours or so, Notre Dame officials shouldn’t be reportedly pushing the ACC to add Stanford, Cal or any other school if the Fighting Irish isn’t prepared to become a full-time member in the ACC. It’s hypocritical. It’s obnoxious.

It’s entirely feasible that the ACC won’t add any new members, at least for now. It’s possible that Florida State or other current ACC schools may try to find a way out of the conference’s grant of rights deal, which runs until 2036 and appears airtight, or cough up a huge sum of money to bolt this league.

The Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference are the cream of the crop. The Big 12 Conference has gotten stronger, I would argue, although others believe the Big 12 has simply gotten bigger.

The Pac-12 is toast. The ACC is jockeying with the Big 12 for the No. 3 spot. I’m not convinced that Cal, Stanford and/or SMU would move the needle a ton for the ACC, but you know what would?

Notre Dame joining as a full-time member, including football. At the very least, I don’t think it’s right for the Fighting Irish to be pushing the ACC to expand one way or another without hopping on board, full-time, itself.

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