AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — The buzz is back at the ACC spring meetings.
All indications are after a tumultuous stretch, all is well with the ACC.
A recently agreed upon conference grant of rights media deal helps explain the laughter and apparent euphoria that has filled the Ritz-Carlton’s halls since ACC leaders gathered Monday morning. So has the presence of one particular school, it seems.
“I hope (there’s added excitement),” Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick said . “But you’ll have to ask others about that.”
Others who have attended the ACC’s spring meetings for several years see great benefit to the Irish’s addition to the conference.
“Where we are with Notre Dame and their unique scheduling deal inside the conference, it’s perfect for us,” Clemson athletics director Dan Radakovich said.
FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher saw all positives while discussing the impact Notre Dame’s occasional appearances on the Seminoles’ future schedule will have on his team.
“Next year, you’re going to have Oklahoma State, Florida and Notre Dame. Nobody will have a greater out-of-conference schedule than we will,” Fisher said.
Beginning in 2014, as it enters into a partial membership with the ACC, the Irish football team will play five ACC schools on a rotating, three-year basis. FSU will be among the first longtime ACC institutions to host Notre Dame under the agreement.
As they retain their football independence, the Irish will be full ACC members in every other sport they field that is recognized by the conference.
If Swarbrick’s initial impression this week is any indication, the relationship between his school and the ACC will be firm.
“I certainly don’t have a historical frame of reference, but the energy and excitement is really palpable,” Swarbrick said. “Focusing on basketball, no one’s ever assembled a group of teams like this before.”
Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey had high praise for the new-look conference .
”What this league will become will be the best basketball conference ever,“ Brey said.
That’s not all, Swarbrick said. With the additions of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville, the conference strengthens its combination of athletics and academics.
”It’s the highest academic performing athletic conference in the country in terms of the FBS conferences,“ Swarbrick said.
This time last spring, the league was staving off a near-collapse, as reports entering the meetings indicated FSU and Clemson were trying to leave the conference.
But those days appear to be over. Stability and security has come to the ACC, and Notre Dame’s leaders say they are proud to be part of it.