Notre Dame University will move all sports except football and hockey to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the league and the school announced Wednesday.
Football will stay independent, and play five ACC teams per season.
Hockey will join Hockey East for the 2013-14 season, while all other
Fighting Irish teams hope to leave the Big East for the ACC.
"This enables us 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 athletics director Jack Swarbrick said at a press conference from the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.
A school source told the Chicago Tribune that Notre Dame hopes to join the ACC by 2012-14, but obstacles must be cleared for that to happen. The
Big East requires members to give 27 months notice to exit, though West
Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse left earlier by paying a higher exit fee.
"The ACC is composed of some of the most highly respected universities in the country, and we at Notre Dame look forward to joining them," Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins said in a statement. "With a mix of institutions -- many of which are also private, similar to Notre Dame in size, and committed to excellence in research and undergraduate education -- the ACC is an exceptionally good fit for us academically, as well as athletically."
Notre Dame has been a member of the Big East in all sports except football and hockey since 1995.
"Notre Dame has been a valued member of the Big East Conference and we wish them success in the future," Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. "However, Notre Dame's departure does not change our plans. We have prestigious institutions that are excited to be a part of the Big East. We remain committed to making the Big East stronger than it has ever been."
Counting Notre Dame, assuming they join next season after paying a fee, the ACC would be at 15 teams in most non-football sports. Pitt and Syracuse will begin ACC play in the 2013-14 school year, two years after accepting an invitation to join the league from the Big East.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said that the ACC will stay at 15 teams.
"There's no need to add a 16th team, and we have no intention to do so, Swofford said. "From a practical standpoint, it's illogical."