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The Big Least conference: Notre Dame latest to jump ship

September 12, 2012

In another blow to the Big East Conference, Notre Dame has announced that it will leave the Providence-headquartered college sports conference and join the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Fighting Irish are the fourth Big East college sports program to leave the conference over the last 14 months, joining Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia. West Virginia went to the Big 12 Conference and Pitt and Syracuse left for the ACC. Traditional New England Providence rival Boston College earlier left the Big East for the ACC.

Norte Dame participated in Big East sports competition, with the exception of football and hockey. The Big East, which began as a basketball conference under the direction of the late Dave Gavitt, a Rhode Islander and legendary PC hoop coach, has never had hockey.

Norte Dame will join the ACC is all sports except hockey and football, but will play five football games a year against ACC foes. Kevin McNamara, the ProJo’s well-regarded basketball writer, calls the Norte Dame move the “latest kick in the teeth for the Big East, which has harbored the Irish’s athletic program since 1996 with no formal ties to football.’’

The next question for the Big East is probably: When does the conference headquarters move from Providence, its home city since its founding in the 1970s?

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