The ACC would let Notre Dame join the league this summer. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images Sport)
If Notre Dame can leave the Big East by this summer, the ACC would allow the Fighting Irish to start play in the league next season, reports ESPN's Brett McMurphy.
Last September, Notre Dame agreed to join the ACC in all sports but football. But the earliest Notre Dame could leave the Big East without penalty was 2015.
McMurphy reports Notre Dame planned to play in the Big East next season unless the seven Catholic schools leaving to form their own league left sooner. Those schools -- Georgetown, Marquette, St. John's, Villanova, DePaul, Seton Hall and Providence -- look set to break from the league and start play next year. (The Associated Press reported Tuesday about the terms to a potential separation agreement that hasn't yet been finalized.)
As a result, Notre Dame is expected to try to leave earlier than originally planned. The Irish would need to agree to terms with the remaining Big East members to exit this summer.
"Nobody's going to let Notre Dame just leave," a Big East source told McMurphy. "It needs to be negotiated."
But the ACC's indication that it would allow Notre Dame to join on short notice is an important step in the process if the Irish are to switch conferences in the next few months.