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, ESPN said. 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.
"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," athletics director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. "This will enable 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. We are immensely grateful to the members of the Big East, which has been a wonderful home for us the past 17 years."
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.
Notre Dame has been a member of the Big East in all sports except football and hockey since 1995.
"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."