- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Notre Dame's "play for freedom" received even more security Monday, as Atlantic Coast Conference presidents approved a grant of media rights for the league through 2026-27, which all but ensures no more defections to other conferences.
Speculation had been mounting that the Big Ten was targeting a number of ACC schools, which would have dealt the league another blow after the loss of Maryland. But Monday's deal guarantees that a school's media rights and home game revenues will remain with the ACC regardless of where the school ends up, thus rendering any potential defections as financially bad moves.
"This announcement further highlights the continued solidarity and commitment by our member institutions," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. "The Council of Presidents has shown tremendous leadership in insuring the ACC is extremely well positioned with unlimited potential."
What does all this mean for Notre Dame, which is moving all of its non-football sports to the ACC in 2013-14 and will play five ACC football games per year from 2014 on? For one, the Irish's new home is even more stable. More to the point, football-wise, is that there is one less worry about football scheduling as an independent.
A perfect regular season this past fall only strengthened the notion that Notre Dame could succeed on its own, and the school announced a 10-year extension with NBC this past Thursday.
The ACC's grant of rights coincides with the conference's television deal with ESPN through the 2026-27 season, a deal was worth $17 million per school per year. Sources told ESPN's Brett McMurphy last year that it is expected to increase to at least $20 million per school per year with the addition of Notre Dame.