Notre Dame makes stunning switch to ACC

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Notre Dame makes stunning switch to ACC

From Comcast SportsNetSOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame has picked its conference. Now it has to decide which football rivalry games to keep.The announcement Wednesday that Notre Dame is moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports except football and hockey came with a provision that the Fighting Irish play five football games a year against league opponents. That's good news for fans who want to see the Irish play Miami more often, but may not be welcomed by some traditional rivals.The deal calls for the Irish to play each ACC team once every three years, which means traditional games against Pittsburgh and Boston College will end. Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Notre Dame will continue to play Navy, which bailed out the school in the 1940s when it was struggling financially by putting programs on the South Bend campus. The Irish also will keep playing Southern California and Stanford, to keep a presence on the West Coast.But what of Big Ten rivals Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue? Swarbrick wasn't ready to say immediately. He did say, however, the shift in scheduling wouldn't be as big as some people think."We're going to keep some traditional rivals and we're going to get around the country. We're still going to be in California every year and we're still going to find a way to get into the Southwest. And, of course, this gives us a great East Coast footprint and we want to make sure we keep a Midwest presence, too," he said. "We'll meet our mission and make sure Notre Dame is playing everywhere in the country."Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke expects the Boilermakers to continue playing the Irish."We have a long-time relationship with Notre Dame involving many of our programs, and we expect it to continue," he said.Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon hopes to keep the series against Notre Dame going after their contract expires in 2020, but said it will be Notre Dame's decision. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said the Spartans have a contract that runs through 2031 that calls for games against Notre Dame for four years and then two off years.But with five ACC games on the schedule, games against USC, Stanford and Navy, if the Irish played all three Big Ten opponents it would have just one other game on the schedule.Notre Dame will begin playing five ACC teams in 2014. It wasn't clear when it would join the league in other sports because the Big East has a 27-month notification period for any member that wants to leave, and a 5 million exit fee. The Big East has shown a willingness to negotiate, as it did with Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who paid 7.5 million each to get out early. Swarbrick wouldn't say when Notre Dame would leave, but indicated he would try to work out a deal."My own philosophy is, it's in everybody's interests to do it sooner rather than later," Swarbrick said.One of the key reasons Notre Dame decided to move from the Big East, which it joined in 1995, was because the ACC's offer allowed the Irish to be part of its bowl rotation. For the next two seasons, if Notre Dame doesn't earn a BCS berth it must wait to see what conferences can't fill their bowl allotments to see where it can play. Notre Dame also could play an ACC team in the Orange Bowl in some years."We needed a soup-to-nuts solution for the postseason and we have achieved it," Swarbrick said.ACC Commissioner John Swofford said the deal helps the league as well because it will re-negotiate its recent ESPN contract worth 3.6 billion to account for Notre Dame's arrival. Notre Dame will keep its broadcast partnership with NBC and won't receive TV revenue for other ACC football games.Swarbrick said he thinks Notre Dame's move to the ACC might stabilize all the changes going on among conferences."I think this gives us a real chance that we are going to have a period ahead of us now in college athletics which is going to be pretty stable," he said. "That would be one of the nicest possible legacies if five years from now we look back on this deal and say, You know what, that ushered in a period of where we focused on what was going on on the field and not what was going on in the AD's office in college sports. I think it will."

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Morning tip: Wizards consistent with firm stance on Porter, trade deadline posture

Morning tip: Wizards consistent with firm stance on Porter, trade deadline posture

Otto Porter is in the final year of his rookie scale contract, and while players in his situation tend to be trade chips the Wizards aren't floating him with Thursday's deadline approaching. 

He's never been available, though everyone in the league is available pending what's being offered in return. Every team in need of a small forward is going to have Porter, who is in the midst of a career season as the NBA's top three-point shooter, 

Like Bradley Beal a year ago when he wasn't given an extension to his rookie deal, Porter is in a similar position making $5.9 million this season.The Wizards will have to tender him a qualifying offer ($125%) at the end of June to make him officially a restricted free agent which gives them first right of refusal to mach an offer sheet to retain him. Or they can immediately come to terms with Porter as they did with Beal.

 

Why isn't Porter considered expendable?

The Wizards have one of the best starting fives in basketball. In the East, especially with the Cavs missing Kevin Love, it could be argued that they're the best in the conference. With John Wall and Bradley Beal able to dominate possession and create for others, Porter is content and most effective playing off the ball. He's shooting 46.5% from three-point range. Unless the Wizards are getting a Paul George caliber player in return, they're not putting the cart before the horse by gutting this starting five for a role player for the bench.

With the need for bench scoring, why didn't they trade for Lou Williams who was available from the Lakers?

He's on a good contract at $7 million per through 2017-18, but the Rockets gave up a wing defender in  Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round draft pick for the short-term. At 40-18, they could grab the No. 2 spot from the Spurs by season's end. The Wizards gave up a 2016 first-round pick for Markieff Morris which made sense because they had a hole in the starting lineup and stretch players at his position are more difficult to find that high-volume shooting guards. Plus 2016 was a weak draft. The 2017 draft is much better therefore a first-round pick is more valuable. All draft picks aren't created equal. The Wizards need bench help. A second-round pick is a fair swap to fill such a void, unless the trade partner is also willing to take a bad contract.

Why hasn't anything happened yet?

Every year, the flurry happens in the last 24 hours leading up to the deadline  (Thursday, 3 p.m. ET). This is why makes the Sacramento Kings making a decision so early in the process on DeMarcus Cousins more head-scratching. There are a lot of contingency plans and dominoes that will fall. It's hard to determine what the Wizards will do. A player who isn't available now might end up on the market. A "no" from an earlier conversation can become a "yes." President Ernie Grunfeld likes to put a lot of irons in the fire and let things simmer.

Who is selling?

The Lakers, Timberwolves, Nuggets, Kings, etc. See a pattern? Teams that aren't winning and willing to part with pieces to rebuild with draft picks from playoff-bound teams or teams with playoff aspirations. Mavs owner Mark Cuban recently made it public that he'd be willing to take on a bad contract for draft picks. Of course, those picks are only as valuable as they're used correctly. Draft badly and picks are a burden.

 

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Need to Know: Why can't the Redskins sign Garcon and Jackson?

Need to Know: Why can't the Redskins sign Garcon and Jackson?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 22, 15 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 7
—NFL Combine (3/2) 8
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 54
—NFL Draft (4/27) 64
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 200

Why not both Garçon and DJax?

Today's question is from my Facebook page. 

Thanks for the good words, Dennis. There are a few reasons why the Redskins are unlikely to bring back both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson and why it’s possible that neither wide receiver will be back for the 2017 season.

One factor is age. Garçon will be 31 early in training camp and Jackson will turn the same age on December 1. While both are in great shape, investing fairly big money (more on that in a moment) in even one aging receiver is risky. Investing it in two is asking for major cap problems in a year or two.

Both receivers will get substantial contracts. In a market that is thin at the position, each player will get three- or four-year deals worth around $10 million per year. While either one could be cut prior to the end of the deal, the contracts likely will be structured so that if they are released after a year or two the team letting the player go will have to absorb an uncomfortable salary cap hit.

Having that much money tied up in two aging players at one position is dicey in and of itself. But a complicating factor here is Jamison Crowder. He is the team’s future at the position. This year he will complete the third year of his rookie deal making him eligible for a contract extension. If he continues to improve he will want something in that $10 million per year neighborhood. He might not get that much but he’ll get at least $8 million.

So, looking at 2018, if they signed both Garçon and Jackson this year and extend Crowder next season the Redskins would have three receivers taking up close to $30 million in cap space. That is too much. The Redskins were second in the league in spending on WR’s last year with “only” $23.5 million. The organization would be squeezed when it came to paying players at other positions.

I’ll hit on one more thing quickly, since I’m going to write a full post about it soon. Assuming the Redskins tag Kirk Cousins, they suddenly don’t have a whole lot of cap space. Their $64 million available would shrink to around $40 million. That’s still a pretty good chunk of money but they also must get 1-2 defensive linemen and perhaps a safety in free agency, and be prepared to handle possible extensions for Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, Trent Murphy, and Bashaud Breeland.

They could still squeeze one or both receivers in under the cap this year. That would mean some short-term gain for some long-term (as in the next two or three seasons) pain.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.