Notre Dame to the Big 12?
Don’t blow your Dome. We’re talking basketball and the second-tier sports, all the stuff that needs a home if the Big East blows up. Makes sense for ND. The Big East is unstable. The Big 12 is willing to try anything to solidify itself. In fact, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds offered a Notre Dame spot in the league to park its non-football sports. That was before the 2010 season and the tongue-in-cheek “offer” fizzled almost the moment it left Dodds’ mouth.
Now the stakes are higher. With the Big East’s future uncertain, the Irish may need a new home for non-football sports. There are rumblings that the Big 12-Notre Dame talk has started again. It has caught the attention of at least one Big 12 writer.
The detailed document regarding the SEC given to Missouri’s board of curators and obtained by the AP earlier this month included Notre Dame among future Big 12 expansion candidates.
It is known that the Irish desperately want to stay independent in football, but might face a decision with its other sports. Playing in the far-flung (for Notre Dame) Big 12 could be a logistical problem (the closest Big 12 school would be Iowa State), but there aren’t many options left. ACC commissioner John Swofford quashed any Notre Dame speculation recently when he said his league is an “all-in, revenue-sharing conference.”
Notre Dame definitely isn’t into revenue sharing. Its football contract with NBC nets the school a reported $15 million per year. It also wants to start a school-centric network similar to the Longhorn Network. But if the Big 12 can live (barely) with the LHN, what’s another dedicated network between friends?
The attraction for the Big 12 would be to have a relationship if and when the Irish decide to join a conference in football. The product on the field isn’t helping that solidify that independence. The Irish were all but eliminated from BCS consideration after Saturday’s lost to USC. In his two seasons at the school, Kelly is a mediocre 12-8. Charlie Weis’ two BCS bowl seasons are starting to look pretty good.
The disadvantage would be flying over several states to play in Oklahoma and Texas. But, again, what options does Notre Dame have? A minor sports alliance with the Big Ten makes total sense but the NBC contract would almost certainly be a deal breaker. Like the ACC, the Big Ten shares its revenue equally and is just starting to realize the profitability of the Big Ten Network.