Blog Entry

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Posted on: October 6, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 5:43 pm
When news broke Thursday that TCU was joining the Big 12 Conference instead of the Big East, it was just another domino in the latest craze sweeping across America: Conference realignment!

Another piece that might be teetering: Notre Dame.

For the Big East, losing TCU is another sucker punch to the groin or -- as Illinois’ Jonathan Brown prefers -- a knee to the groin.

Sure technically the Big East never really had TCU since the Horned Frogs weren’t officially joining the league until July 1, 2012, but the loss of what could have been is even more devastating for the Big East.

In the matter of weeks, the Big East has lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and now TCU to the Big 12. And if Missouri leaves for the SEC, sources have told the Big 12 will likely add three more schools to get to 12 members. At the top of that list, sources said, is Louisville, along with a combination of BYU, West Virginia, Cincinnati or Tulane.

Losing Louisville and West Virginia or Cincinnati would likely be a fatal blow to the Big East's football BCS status. As damaging as these defections are to the Big East, it could have an even greater impact on the behemoth of college football.

Even before man invented fire, the Fighting Irish’s football program has been an independent. And Notre Dame plans on staying an independent until the galaxy explodes -- or until the Big East implodes -- whichever happens first.

So while the Big East’s pulse continues to weaken, Notre Dame could be forced to join a conference. The Fighting Irish have enjoyed the benefit of remaining a football independent, while their non-football sports competed in the Big East. Those days could be numbered.

"Certainly the factors that have contributed to the larger conference realignment continue to exist," Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick told the Associated Press on Wednesday, a day before the news about TCU leaving to the Big 12. "And we’re doing the same thing we’ve done throughout, monitoring them closely, and hoping that the Big East stays a vibrant and successful partner for us."

But if there’s no Big East, then Notre Dame becomes the Holy Grail of college football. The Big 12, the Big Ten, the ACC and the SEC would add the Fighting Irish yesterday. Heck, even the Pac-12’s Larry Scott would find a way to bring the Irish on board if he could.

I’ve maintained that as long as Notre Dame has a conference home to put its non-football or Olympic sports (men’s basketball, women’s basketball, etc.) in it will never join a conference. But things are about to get interesting for Notre Dame.

If the Big East no longer exists, Notre Dame will have two options: Join the Big 12/Big Ten/ACC/SEC as a full member or stay independent in football and join one of those conferences with its non-football sports.

It will depend on how bad Notre Dame cherishes its football independence, because I’m sure one of those four conferences would prefer Notre Dame as a non-football member (and the guarantee of Notre Dame being on those future football schedules) to having Notre Dame in another league.

Before TCU and the Big 12’s announcement on Thursday, Swarbrick said Wednesday Notre Dame needed to continue to support the league.

"They’re [the Big East] working on additions," he said. "You got to wait until the whole picture is shaped to really have a feel for it, for what that option is like. Just continue to support them and be involved in their planning and hope they wind up in a great place.

"It's great to make plans. It’s whether the people you might be interested in or the circumstances will allow you to achieve those plans. But certainly the way the conference is thinking and what it’s trying to achieve are consistent with what I think it needs to do."

That was Swarbrick’s view Wednesday. That all changed Thursday with TCU headed to the Big 12 and there are likely more changes ahead. The question remains: will it be enough to force Notre Dame to give up its independence?


Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:53 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

This might matter if ND still had a viable football team.  As it stand now, WHO CAREDS what they do?

Since: Nov 22, 2007
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:49 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Let's say the Big East dissolves as a football conference, why does Notre Dame have to leave?  The current basketball only Big East schools are all Catholic schools to begin with.  Big East basketball would be left with DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, and Villanova which are all Catholic schools.  Add some more Catholic schools like Xavier, Duquesne, Detroit, or St. Louis and Notre Dame has absolutely no reason to move their olympic sports out of the Big East.  This version of the Big East is one that shares common relgious and moral beliefs and includes a school in just about every major city east of the Mississippi River and north of the Ohio River and that commonality would probably be enough to keep ND in the Big East.

Since: Oct 1, 2007
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:43 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Easy DOMER.  All he is saying is that Notre Dame will have to move some where.  Add the fact that Title 9 requires them to have an equal number of women's teams to men's, even a school like Notre Dame doesn't want to carry the brunt of funding those teams on their own dime.

Since: Nov 25, 2008
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:17 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk


Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:12 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

You, my friend, are absolutely correct.  As a Pitt fan and a long time Big East fan we should have never let them in the conference in the first place. If they would have fully committed the Big east would have never fallen. Even their A.D. said that Pitt was very selfish. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black to me.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:51 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk


In answer:

I'm blowing smoke up....

I don't like the Big Ten, seems like ND would have joined long ago and didn't...

I like the Big 12, and know that ND going there would save them from their apparent stupidity and self destruction...

Wishful thinking...

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:50 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Well, ND can stay independent with its legacy w/ TV contract. Heck, I don't give a hoot about ND. On the other hand, sending Vanderbilt to join ACC whilst FSU to join SEC...

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:47 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

hoodoo operator

Four football conferences in the Elite 64...  SEC, Big Ten, PAC and Big 12.  You listed the ACC which is basketball conference.  It doesn't mean the Big East or ACC won't have football, or that the football won't be entertaining, or it won't be meaningful.  It just means that these four conferences, going to 16 teams each, will secede from the NCAA for football reasons.  In turn the NCAA will allow their members to play non-conference games with these schools for football and basketball, and seed them in The Dance, in order to avoid suicide themselves by excluding them.

This is the evolution of the BCS.  Four conferences, 16 teams each.  If they're smart they'll include a by-law where based on performance or revenue four teams (1 each conference) gets booted out every (3?) years and replaced by teams "earning" their way in by performance and/or revenue.

And these schools will have different rules than the NCAA allowing revenue sharing with players of some form (semi-pro) and avoiding the incomprehensible, unpredictable and ridulous current NCAA policies that are currently imploding major college sports (in particular football).

Since: Sep 3, 2011
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:35 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Sewanee would be better than Tulane. So many nice hotels in Monteagle, Tennessee!!!!

Since: Oct 6, 2011
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:25 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

IMO If the Big East dissolve as a football conference, it will continue as a basketball conference. It may invite teams like VCU, Butler, and or Temple to help bolster it's conference. Notre Dame will still be able to maintain it's independence in college football and complete in the Big East in other sports.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or