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“The ACC is composed of some of the most highly respected universities in the country, and we at Notre Dame look forward to joining them,” said Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins. “With a mix of institutions — many of which are also private, similar to Notre Dame in size, and committed to excellence in research and undergraduate education — the ACC is an exceptionally good fit for us academically, as well as athletically.”

Notre Dame considered giving up its football independence in 1999 to join the Big Ten, but alumni were staunchly opposed and the deal never got done. Throughout the dizzying conference realignment of the past few years, Notre Dame officials have been adamant about maintaining football independence.

The ACC decided to accommodate Notre Dame’s desires.

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AP sports writers Hank Kurz in Richmond, Va., and Ralph D. Russo in New York, and Associated Press Writer Tom Coyne in South Bend, Ind., contributed to this report.