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: May 23, 2010
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:05 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

harleyjspoon...Seriously?  Wake up!  You, like so many others, think athletics is the center of the universe.  It is the various University Presidents who make the big decisions here.  There will be a lot of money for Notre Dame, no matter which direction they ultimately turn.  So it boils down to where they fit the best.  The biggest hurdle the Big 12 has in convincing Notre Dame is that more than half of the schools in the Conference aren't academically strong enough to tote Notre Dame's book bag.

Since: May 22, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:47 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Notre Dame is not going to join any of these conferences!! This is all about realignment hoopla!!Writers are having a field day coming up with all these conference scenarios and feeding the frenzy.

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:36 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

And then there is the basketball's and women's....Texas, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas Stste, OSU, OU, maybe BYU (if they join).....I think the Texas schools and the other Big 12 schools could be persuaded to build hockey arenas and develop hockey programs as part of the package to entice ND....Come on, ND....Welcome to the Big 12...

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:31 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

After in-depth analysis, I have determined that the best move Notre Dame can make is to become a member of the BIG 12...As Notre Dame saw last year when they played Washington State in the Alamo Dome, Texans will fill stadums anywhere to see Notre Dame...and can you imagine the rivalry that could result with (1) Baylor, the largest Southern Baptist university in the USA, (2) TCU, a Disciples of Christ university and, if (3) BYU joins the Big 12, well the Mormons will fill any stadium in the US to see that match-up.  ND recruits well in Texas but its recruiting in Texas would go wild should ND join the Big 12.  Imagine an every year or every other year battle with the University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, Missouri....and, with all of that, ND would be able to maintain its national presence and its established and eternal rivalries across the US....ND, you are officially invited to join the BIG 12....

Since: Jul 15, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:16 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

The premise of the article is that the BE is on the cusp of collapsing; thus requiring ND to sh!t or get off the pot.  In addition, the author also believes that ND can't afford to be left out of inclusion in one of the four 16-team superconferences.  If ND thinks that they can stand alone without being in one of the four 16-team superconferences, they're more arrogant than they already appear.

Since: Sep 7, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:10 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

It's irrelevant who's the worst auto-bid conference least it would BE one with that membership.

Since: Oct 6, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:56 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Notre Dame football independence is only in jeopardy if both Big East football and basketball collapse and they lose their sweet deal with NBC. As long as the Big East still fields Olympic sports, Notre Dame's independence is rock solid.

Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:53 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

ND is a cash cow for any conference, that is a simple fact.  Whether they are as good as they were does not matter one bit. 

The BE is most likely not the best fit for ND as the BE could lose their AQ status if any of their top football programs leave for the B12.  The best fit for ND if any are the B10 and the B12 but like the article says that wont happen unless the BE football side goes under.

If ND joins a conference, and I don't believe for a second that they will, I think it would be the Big East, along with a guarantee/stipulation f
rom the BCS that the Big East will retain its automatic bid for the forseeable future.  ND is already BCS eligible with 10 wins and a top 12 finish.  No reason to think the BCS wouldn't go for something like this.

But you're right on with the first statement, which is why the Big East is the best fit.  ND would be at the top of the conference in football every year, and none of the other sports would be disrupted.  Joining the Big East has done great things for ND basketball, and I don't see ND giving up on them anytime soon.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:46 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

 I tell you what better get off your high horse. 

 If teams go to 14-16 team confeerences with 9-10 conference game per year....the qualioty of non-conference games will be worse for BCS schools than it currently is. For instance, who is going to want to jeopardize a bowl bid by playing a non-confeerence game against Notre Dame when they alreay might have 6-7 potential losses just within their own conference?

 I am sorry, but alot of those teams that ND plays might start finding more teams from the MAC, WAC, Big SKy, and More of the former 1AA schools to play rather than schedule Notre Dame. 

 By the Way Fat Charlie was fired becasue he couldn't get Notre Dame out of the Afterthought mode of the top 25. Maybe you are following right in his footsteps.


Since: May 23, 2010
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:44 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

To Xefian...If you take what is left of Big East Football, add ND, Army, Navy, Air Force, BYU, ECU, the Miami Dolphins and the Minnesota Vikings, you would still be battling it out with the ACC for the title of Worst BCS Automatic Qualifier Conference.

The best fit for Notre Dame, because (sorry SEC) there is so much more to conference affiliation than just football, is the Big Ten.

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