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New ACC commissioner wants Notre Dame as football member

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 8:26 PM EDT
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New Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips made it clear he wants Notre Dame to join the conference as a full-time football member after what he described as a "beautiful and beneficial relationship" during an unusual 2020 season.

Phillips knows that remains largely up to Notre Dame.

"The old kind of quip is, Notre Dame loves two things: one is being Catholic, second is independence. Sometimes those things get in reverse order. Sometimes they like independence even more than being Catholic," joked Phillips, who has a son and daughter who attend Notre Dame.

Speaking at his first public forum at the ACC media days, Phillips addressed the Notre Dame independence issue while Notre Dame's logo was shown alongside the ACC's 14 member schools on the backdrop behind the podium.

Notre Dame offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg (74) and Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick (1)...
Notre Dame offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg (74) and Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick (1) tangle during during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C.

"They know the ACC's interest," Phillips said. "It's been less than bashful. It's been less than bashful since I've been here. But I also respect where they're at. Our concentration right now is on our 14 schools. Who knows where the future's going to go?"

Last season, Notre Dame played as a temporary member of the ACC due to COVID-19 rules and went undefeated during the regular season before losing to Clemson 34-10 in the ACC Championship game.

"They had a chance to play a fantastic schedule," Phillips said. "They had a chance to vie for a national championship and compete in the (College Football Playoff). We have a real-life example of what that could look like."

Notre Dame, an indepedent for years that nonetheless has five ACC teams on this year's schedule, has given no indication it is interested in joining the ACC in football.

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