Notre Dame joins ACC, retains football independence

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Notre Dame joins ACC, retains football independence

Notre Dame has a new conference, but it's staying independent in football.

The ACC accepted Notre Dame as its 15th member Wednesday morning, and the Irish will move all their non-football programs there from the Big East. Additionally, Notre Dame will play five football games against ACC opponents each year, which isn't a huge leap -- the Irish play three ACC schools in 2012, just as they did in 2011. And Pittsburgh is a future ACC member, too, so it could even be viewed as Notre Dame playing four on their schedule.

"We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us," said athletic director Jack Swarbrick in a statement released by the ACC. "We are able to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACC's non-BCS bowl package, and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports."

Notre Dame's non-football programs had competed in the Big East since 1995, but with the conference losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC and adding the likes of Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU and Temple, Notre Dame clearly wanted to be a part of a conference with more familiar faces.

"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 President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., in a statement. "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."

In adding Notre Dame, the ACC Council of Presidents voted to raise exit fee from the conference, and that number likely will be in excess of 50 million. While the Big 12 was picked apart and the Big East decimated by conference realignment, the ACC has remained strong and appears a permanent home for the Irish.

Notre Dame was linked to the Big 12 as rumors flew during the last few years of conference realignment, with a deal similar to the one now hammered out with the ACC being thought about. Ultimately, the Big 12 never made much sense, especially if the door was always open for a move to the ACC.

How the five-game agreement affects Notre Dame's football schedule remains to be seen, but most likely it means the Irish won't play as many Midwestern opponents going forward. USC, Stanford and Navy are all likely to remain on Notre Dame's schedule, and the Irish are committed to play Arizona State at Cowboys Stadium next year.

Notre Dame and Michigan scheduled a two-year break for 2018 and 2019, and the two schools never officially signed a reported agreement that would lock them in to play each other through 2030. There's certainly a chance Notre Dame uses the ACC as a way to get Michigan -- along with Michigan State andor Purdue -- off their football schedule.

Take the 2013 schedule as an example (assuming the deal begins in 2013 -- Notre Dame only has one ACC opponent on their slate, that being Pittsburgh (which joins the conference next year). Notre Dame will have to fit in four other ACC opponents while likely trying to not drop USC, Stanford, Navy and Arizona State. That makes games against Temple, Michigan, Purdue, Oklahoma, Air Force and BYU up in the air -- the Irish probably won't drop Oklahoma, which they'll play this October in Norman.

Big changes are coming for Notre Dame, but the biggest one was announced Wednesday morning. Stay tuned.

NCAA Golf Championships and local stars take Rich Harvest Farms by storm

NCAA Golf Championships and local stars take Rich Harvest Farms by storm

 

The NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships are in full swing as teams have flocked from all across the country to compete at the pristine Rich Harvest Farms, in Sugar Hill, Ill.

The Championships, hosted by Northern Illinois, span from May 19-31 and include both individual and team competition for the men’s and women’s divisions.

In its first ever appearance at Rich Harvest Farms, the tournament will have no shortage of local talent.

The University of Illinois will be making its 10th straight NCAA tournament appearance led by Nick Hardy out of Northbrook, Ill. The Illini have had semifinal finishes in the last two years respectively, establishing themselves as an NCAA men’s powerhouse and looking to finally make it to the final round this year.

Other local golfers include:

Doug Ghim, Arlington Heights. -- University of Texas

Trent Wallace, Joliet. -- Illinois State University

Other top contenders at the tournament for team play are headlined by USC, Oklahoma State, and Vanderbilt. While for individual play Will Zalatoris out of Wake Forest leads the way, followed by Chandler Phillips out of Texas A&M and Travis Trace out of North Florida.

The men’s portion of the Championships began today at 3 p.m., but have dealt with delays due to inclement weather.

Last week saw women’s play wrap up on May 24 with Arizona State not only defeating local favorite Northwestern for their eighth national title in team play, but also saw Monica Vaughn take home the sixth individual title for the Sun Devils as well.

Men's play continues tomorrow through May 31 and can be seen on the Golf Channel along with the highlighted times below.

Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 29

Individual National Championship

4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 30

Quarterfinals, Team Match Play

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 30

Semifinals, Team Match Play

4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 31

Team Match Play National Championship

4-8 p.m. (Live)

 

White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito: No-hitter 'special' after early struggles

White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito: No-hitter 'special' after early struggles

Lucas Giolito got the “click” he was looking for on Thursday night and it resulted in a seven-inning no-hitter for Triple-A Charlotte.

Currently the No. 2-rated White Sox prospect, Giolito has struggled so far this season at Charlotte. He’s 2-5 with a 5.44 ERA in nine starts in 46 1/3 innings.

While he’s struck out 43 hitters, Giolito has also walked 25. But it all came together for the tall right-hander on Thursday when he threw an 87-pitch no-no against the Syracuse Chiefs.

“It was special,” Giolito said on a conference call on Friday. “Just the way the year has gone, it didn't start the way I wanted it to, the numbers haven't been great. So it's great to have a no-hitter under my belt, my first professional one. Just take that and work from there. I'm just going to keep working on the things I've been working on the past few weeks and hopefully string a few good ones together.”

Rated the No. 3 overall prospect in the majors before the 2016 season, Giolito’s profile has slipped some because of performance. The top name included from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal, Giolito has struggled with command of his offspeed pitches and fastball at times. Earlier this month, Giolito described his performance as “atrocious,” while remaining optimistic that his fortunes could change just like clicking on a light switch.

Giolito said he felt confident on the mound Thursday and it translated.

“I did a lot better job of keeping the fastball down in the zone to both sides of the plate,” Giolito said. “I was able to get the ball inside to lefties pretty well, maybe got a few jam shots some pop outs here and there and then I had my two-seamer working as well. It was just a pretty solid day as far as throwing the fastball.”

Pleased as he is, Giolito is striving to be better. He pointed at his three walks as an area he’d like to improve upon. But he’s also happy with how it all worked on Thursday.

“There's always still work to do,” Giolito said. “I walked three batters and that is not something I want to be doing. The walk numbers are a little too high for my liking. There's still plenty to work on, but everything felt pretty solid last night. I felt like I repeated my delivery well, I executed more pitches. Especially when I'd fall behind in the count I'd execute quality pitches and you can get yourself out of bad situations doing that.”

The Knights made two roster moves on Friday -- Yoan Moncada was activated off the seven-day disabled list and Ryan Raburn was traded to the Washington Nationals for cash or a player to be named later.