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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: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:19 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

The ACC has told the powers at Notre Dame, they would not admit them for football only. The SEC & B1G conferences have told ND the same as the ACC. All of these leagues have equal revenue sharing for every member institution. That's one of the big problems in the BIG EAST now, letting Notre Dame to be independent in football.

Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:17 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Notre Dame may not be mainstream to the shallow minded folks in most of these rooms whos only knowledge of sports comes from Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na sportscenter,but Notre Dame still has the biggest following  out there.More than Alabama,Ohio State,Usc,Oklahoma and so on.Sad but true,I don't like Notre Dame,but the reason they can hold their football progam out there like a carrot isn't because they have a great football team, its because it is the bench mark for all programs,they can go 1-11 and still have the biggest following,coaches would get fired,and recruits still won't come, but they would still recieve the money and glory of being Notre Dame.The study i saw was ages 23-retirement ND had the biggest following by far,2nd place wasn't even on the map in comparison.But from 17-22 they weren't in the top 10 which are the recruits that ND isn't getting.

Since: Jul 15, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:54 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

I'm 100% positve that the B1G will not accept ND without their football team; never have, never will.  That said, ND (as well as Army, Navy, and Air Force) want the academic excellence the B1G affords, and MUST compromise or be left behind.

Since: Jun 20, 2007
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:53 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

ND is the epitome of college football

Huh?  Can you please explain how a football program that has done NOTHING, except for being way overrated by the media, for the past 20 years be the eptitome of college football.  Except for you ND homers nobody cares about you, really.  I know that is hard to accept, but stupid comments like that make it even easier to forget about a lackluster program that still riding glory of 50 or 60 years ago.  It's time to face reality boys.

Since: Aug 28, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:51 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

ND is a relic dinosaur, football-wise, they are just a history story, irrelavent in real life of today's world.  Stay independent, who cares?

Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:47 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

I don't think the SEC or B10 would accept Notre Dame as a non-football member.  But the others would.

It may sound strange but i wouldn't be suprised (if ND has to go somewhere) if they ended up going to the B12.  the B12 could then have their choice between Louisville or BYU.  (BYU wants to stay independent, but they wouldn't pass on a Mormons vs. Catholics matchup every year).

Since: Jul 15, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:45 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Army, Navy, Air Force, and Notre Dame are going to join the B1G when somebody (probably SEC) goes to 16 teams.  McMurphy is suggesting that Notre Dame MUST find a conference home for their sports other than football (SOTF), and that no new conference would accept ND without requiring the Fighting Irish to bring their football team into the new conference with their SOTF.  Now that the big conferences are in a position to insist that they include their football team with SOTF, ND football will be forced to join a conference.  For almost two decades, ND was in a superior position to negotiate with the eleven team B1G on their terms, yet failed to come into the tent; they'll regret that decision forever.

Since: Sep 7, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:42 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

BEast has an opportunity should they get off their behinds and go for it. There are four independents ...Army, Navy , ND, BYU, throw in the Air Force Acadamy and one other -(ECU gets my Vote) Bingo new division for the BEast or All America Conference or whatever you want to call it . A much clearer path to a BCS bid that would remain for this allignment,for all concerned . Scheduling Compromises could be made . Championship Game held, TV Contracts honored ... Th Basketball Conference could be unaffected . Just Do It....

Since: Apr 28, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:40 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe revenue from the TV deal with NBC has been declining every year for a while now.

The current NBC contract will expire in 2015.  The revenue NBC has received from advertisers has fallen in recent years, but has marketability improved during the 2010, and has even accelerated this season.  NBC's increasing revenue can be attributed to the Irish having a new coach, and more specifically a better performance on the field.  Notre Dame has a contract with NBC, so the Irish revenue remains constant regardless of W-L records.

Every conference would love to cash in on having the Irish on board.  The Notre Dame team(s) in every sport, fill arenas, stadiums, and natatoriums.  A buzz is always generated when a Irish team comes to town.  The Big East experienced significant revenue growth when Notre Dame entered the conference in all non football sports. 

Love Notre Dame or not, people either enjoy an Irish victory or the Irish train wreck, but tickets are sold, and advertising time is purchased.

Money mouth       

Since: Nov 14, 2008
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:34 am

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

ND is powerful, yes. ND is the epitome of college football? LOL! That's a joke and so has their program for some time now. Let us know when you step out of your time machine.

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