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 CBSSports.com 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?


Comments

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:29 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Brett is clearly suffering from a shot or two of something, maybe scotch or rum.

He can't remember that the Big East is best known as a basketball power. Football is something they do in basketball off season.

"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."

Really Brett? Do you only have 2 fingers because there are other options.

The loss of Syracuse and Pittsburgh for the Big East is a huge hit not because of football alone but the impact in roundball.

They are both national powers in basketball and that is important to the Big East overall. But in football, all the Big East needs to do is add someone who can fit in and not be a clear drag on the rest of the conference.

Why would the Big East stand on the sidelines and fold when they can do what every other conference has done. Grab another dancing partner. It took the Big 12 a year to react. Give the Big East more than a day.

Notre Dame is not hurt at all if the Big East stays together at this point. The key had been TCU, which would have been an upgrade in football over Cuse and Pitt (for last few years, anyway). But TCU would need 10 years to catch up to Big East basketball.

So why would a 16 basketball team conference fold at losing 2 football members. ND does not play in conference football.

Remember, TCU joining left another spot open that the Big East most likely would have filled with at least a basketball school.

Thus, I give you Temple and East Carolina. Two schools with football teams that are moving up each year. And in Temple, a basketball team with history and a good recruiting base. Perhaps the target of the Big East if TCU had joined, anyway.

Temple already plays football and basketball in different conferences. And East Carolina is not far behind Syracuse right now on the football field.

I have no clue how the 2 schools admin. or their students and fans would react to such a move. I feel both would leap at the chance to join the Big East.

So ND still has no reason to leap without looking at what the Big East can do to shore up their football members.
Notre Dame has not been pushed to do anything unless they were chicken little. Last time I looked, Notre dame was still one of the Big Dogs because of their NBC contract.



Since: Jul 6, 2010
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:47 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

I agree coach. The only problem I could see is whether the basketball schools has all the team sports that Notre Dame has. Do they have the Olympic Sports? If not, then I could see a problem for Notre Dame. They would have to decide what to do with the teams that the other schools do not have. 

The biggest problem, Big East is not being proactive and sitting by and allowing the other conferences raid theiir conference. The Commish needs to get off his duff. Big East raids Conference USA again or add the military academies it will be in the same class as Mid-America or Conference USA in football. 



Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:34 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Notre Dame should join the Big Ten in all sports.  It makes the most sense geographically, academically and financially.  Why this has not happened yet is not completely clear to me.



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:20 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

I don't get how Big East football crumbling effects Notre Dame in the least?  Are you trying to tell the people who are foolish enough to read your articles that Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, St. John's, Marquette, DePaul, and Notre Dame are not capable of maintaining a non-football Big East?  More than likely adding Xavier, Dayton, St. Louis, and maybe even Butler. Possibly keeping Rutgers, Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati as associate members in "Olympic Sports"?


Coach




Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:00 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

The fact that Tulane was even mentioned in this article completely ruins it's credibility. I would be embarassed to even mention the word "source" errr, make up a rumor of such ridiculous proportion. Of all the schools in the Big 12 footprint Tulane has the least to offer, with a miniscule fan base. Havie you ever been to a Tulane football game inside the Superdome? I have and the echos of the QB calling signals or coaches barking at players is anything but major college football.  Please don't give me the New Orleans Tv market BS. The lack of support for Tulane more than off-sets the potential of Big 12 staking a penny size claim deep in LSU territory.

By the way, if you think the Big 12 is going to save the Big East orphans, think again.  The Big 12 may add Louisville and BYU, but I predict they stand pat at 10 schools. The Big East orphans will likely join the pending C-USA/MWC merger.

Non of this effects Notre Dame, they are their own man, always have and always will. Notre Dame will take their Independence to the courtroom if they have to. No one, including the NCAA is going to force the most marketable school in DI to join a conference,

Coach



Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:00 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Where ya been, dude? Notre Dame already joined Hockey East, effective after this season. I stopped reading your post after that, seemed uniformed to me.



Since: Nov 22, 2007
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:42 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Back when ND could walk the walk to go along with talkiing the talk, they were important enough to survive as an independent.  Soon, though, there will be no reason for good teams to bother scheduling them if they try to stay independent.  Also, they could soon find themselves out of a newly-minted playoff for a real championship.
Totally disagree with this assesment.  Why would good teams bother to schedule ND still?  How about because there's a good chance of beating ND on a regular basis (Tulsa beat them in South Bend last year for crying out loud).  As long as the NBC (can I type those three letters on here) is willing to waste millions of dollars on ND football, there is little incentive for ND to ever go join a conference.  When NBC does finally quit wasting money on ND, they know they can choose whatever conference they want and they will end up in the one that gives them the most preferential treatment.



Since: Mar 28, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:25 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Big deal if the Big East loses its status in the BCS picture. In fact, it could completely dissolve as a football conference. But, I think it will continue to thrive outside the college football world. In basketball, they are still very revelent, beacause there are still some very strong institutions there that, along with Notre Dame, that don't participate in Big East football. From Georgetown to Villanova to Seton Hall to Marquette to Providence to St. John's to DePaul-I think the Big East will survive. So why again does Notre Dame feel forced to give up its independent label in football while moving all of its other sports teams away from the Big East??



Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:16 am
 

Notre Dame's all-consuming ego must go...

Back when ND could walk the walk to go along with talkiing the talk, they were important enough to survive as an independent.  Soon, though, there will be no reason for good teams to bother scheduling them if they try to stay independent.  Also, they could soon find themselves out of a newly-minted playoff for a real championship.  
 
With apologies to Yogi Berra, Notre Dame isn't Notre Dame anymore.  Maybe someone should tell them.



Since: Sep 7, 2010
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:12 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence who cares?

Er, Dude, do you realize a lot of BCS bowl games have passed since 1993? Do you realize that ND got their last Big Bowl bids because of their name, and LSU and ORE ST (ORE ST!) humiliated them?
Dude, do you realize ND went a decade without a bowl win, and broke the streak against novelty act Hawaii?


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