BLACKSBURG, Va. – Growing up in Harrisburg, Pa., long before he played for Joe Paterno at Penn State, Jim Weaver said one name stood above all the rest in college football.
“There’s only one Notre Dame,” Weaver, the 67-year-old athletic director at Virginia Tech, said Wednesday. “I remember as a kid in the early ’50s watching Notre Dame football on Sundays.” When we played football in the alley as a kid, everybody wanted to be Notre Dame.”
Wednesday, Notre Dame and the Atlantic Coast Conference announced the Irish would be joining the league, no later than 2014, for all sports except football. In football, the Irish are committed to playing five ACC opponents a year.
“I think it’s a win-win,” Weaver said. “I think it’s an exciting day for the Atlantic Coast Conference and the member institutions. We’re getting a quality academic institution joining the conference.”
His coaches agreed.
“I think it’s great for the ACC and great for Notre Dame,” Tech football coach Frank Beamer said. “I think both of us benefit.”
First-year basketball coach James Johnson echoed that sentiment.
“I think the addition of Notre Dame to the ACC is a great move. This strengthens the best basketball league in the country even more,” Johnson said. “I think this benefits both the ACC and Notre Dame; a true ‘Win-Win’ situation.”
Notre Dame will become the league’s 15th member overall, including Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which leave the Big East for the ACC next season.
“This is the best athletic conference in the country and we will only make it better,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said.
The addition of the Fighting Irish also paved the way for the ACC presidents to approve a $50 million exit fee from league, a move designed to bring stability to the conference.