Big Ten Expansion and What it Means for Notre Dame and the Big East

Submitted by Seth9 on March 10th, 2010 at 12:25 AM
The more recent developments in the Big Ten expansion have been very interesting (and to an extent, frightening). The most important of these are the leaked reports that Rutgers is near or at the top of the Big Ten's expansion plans and Notre Dame coming out and saying that they may be forced to join a conference. This led me to think about the implications of these statements and I've come up with some interesting (and quite possibly/likely incorrect) conclusions.
First of all, only of Big Ten fans and Notre Dame (and others who want to join the Big Ten) would be upset about Rutgers joining the Big Ten. Big Ten fans would obviously be upset (with the possible exception of Indiana football fans) because Rutgers would be a perennial doormat in football and basketball. Notre Dame would also be upset because the generally open door that the Big Ten has left for Notre Dame to join would likely close. Now, Notre Dame has made it clear that they have no desire to join the Big Ten and prefer their independent status in football. However, the open door that the Big Ten has provided for Notre Dame has given them a powerful tool when negotiating with the Big East.

This brings me to the heart of the matter. Should Rutgers join the Big Ten, the Big East could actually benefit. Rutgers has given the Big East very little. Through St. John's, the Big East already owns the New York basketball market. Meanwhile, Rutgers football has generally been unable to deliver any ratings in New York, due to their being generally terrible through the years, and thus the Big East hasn't really benefitted from them. However, if Rutgers were to leave for the Big Ten, the Big East would get a huge opportunity. Because the Big Ten would have been eliminated as an option for Notre Dame, the Big East would likely have a conversation like this with Notre Dame:

Big East: Since Rutgers has gone, we're looking for a new football team to join the conference and we think you would be a great addition.

Notre Dame: Well thanks for the offer, but we're quite happy with our independent status and we don't think that such an arrangement would benefit us financially or athletically.

Big East: Don't be so sure. You would get five non-conference games every year, so you could keep up your rivalries. And let's face it, our conference is weak enough that you'll be able to get to a BCS bowl at least 2 out of every 3 years, so long as your coaching hires work out.

Notre Dame: Still, we would prefer independence. Joining the Big East would restrict our schedule a lot and our alumni would be very unhappy. Furthermore, we could still easily lose football revenue.

Big East: That's a shame, because if you can't join us for football, we'll have to kick you out for basketball.

Notre Dame: [mouths a few profanities] That would be unfortunate, but we can always join Conference USA or the Atlantic 10.

Big East: Well, that's an option for you, I suppose, but you should know that we'll probably be raiding those conferences for replacement teams for you and Rutgers [evil grin].


Anyway, should Rutgers join the Big Ten, they can easily get a replacement like Memphis or someone, and they would also gain a huge amount of leverage when negotiating with Notre Dame. And that situation, I feel, is likely the reason that Notre Dame is saying that they may be forced to join a conference. Also, I really hope that leaking the idea that Rutgers is perhaps the preferred candidate is just a method of putting pressure on Notre Dame to join the Big Ten, because if Rutgers actually came to the Big Ten, it would really suck.



March 10th, 2010 at 1:26 AM ^

I think the Big East should have that discussion with ND, but they should do it NOW, before losing a school to the Big Ten. The Big East has already gutted Conference USA once, and lost a lot of their prestige in the process. Replacing one of their big name schools like Pitt or Syracuse would probably lead to them losing their status as a BCS conference, or possibly collapsing completely causing a flurry of musical chairs. The Big 12 doesn't have this issue, since they have an obvious replacement available in TCU.

If I were the commissioner of the Big East, I would tell Notre Dame right now that they need to join up or get out, not because I expected them to join, but because it would force them to the Big Ten.


March 10th, 2010 at 1:36 AM ^

...but I don't see how that would help the Big East. Currently, Notre Dame is a good, but replaceable Big East basketball program. The Big East has little reason to make such a demand because if Notre Dame were to join any conference, it would be the Big Ten and the Big East wouldn't benefit at all. However, if they gave it a go when Notre Dame couldn't go to the Big Ten, they would have a shot of getting something out of it.

March 10th, 2010 at 11:55 AM ^

I think his point was that if the BigTen were to take one of the Big East's strongest schools (Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers), then the Big East might implode. If the Big East is certain that they'll be poached, then it's in their interest to drive Notre Dame to the BigTen instead by giving them an ultimatum: join us for football or you're gone from all the other sports.

MI Expat NY

March 10th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

You forget that there are seven other schools in the Big East that don't play football. Why would they be so inclined to support kicking out ND to help the seven remaining schools with a football interest? ND and the rest of the non-football schools have a lot more in common than their football playing counterparts. They're all small, northern, private, catholic (?) schools. On the football side, you have large public univerities from a wide geographic area and one private school. Similar yes, but not as cohesive in substance as the non-football schools.

Under your proposal, I could see a replacement of your last line of dialogue... ND: "Fine, us and the rest of the non-football schools will go our separate way, have fun being the Little East."


March 10th, 2010 at 1:06 PM ^

First of all, while schools like Georgetown have more in common with Notre Dame than they do with Syracuse or Connecticut, there is no way that Georgetown would choose to change to a conference without them. Same goes for Villanova and every other major basketball school in the conference.

The other seven non-football schools in the Big East get much more revenue out of basketball than football. They know that it is in their best interests to have a thriving Big East football conference, because should the Big East football conference fall apart, the basketball conference could lose Syracuse, Pitt, UConn, West Virginia, etc. The other non-football schools are much more likely to be loyal to the football schools rather than Notre Dame because their conference can be decimated by the football schools, but not by Notre Dame.

Currently, Notre Dame has virtually no leverage over the Big East football schools and the Big East football schools have virtually no leverage over Notre Dame. Should the Big Ten expand and close the door to Notre Dame, the Big East football schools would gain leverage over Notre Dame and may be willing to risk losing Notre Dame basketball in an attempt to grab Notre Dame football, especially if they can offer a carrot (5 non-conference games and an easy BCS bid) at the same time that they use a stick (screwing over the basketball team).

MI Expat NY

March 10th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

There's no way that Geogetown and 'Nova could be in a oonference without Syracuse and UConn? Bold statement. If the basketball only schools split, there would be a lot of history in those 8 schools. All of them have had runs of basketball excellence and getting out of the beheamoth that is the 16 team Big East might be just what is needed to get Depaul and St. Johns back in line with historical norms.

I guess I am of the opinion that the Big East as it currently stands is not long for this world, either through eventual in-conference instability (like the current Big 12) or from the Big 10 picking off one of Pitt, Rutgers or Syracuse. I don't see the basketball schools fighting all that hard to maintain the status quo.

I'm also not sure the basketball schools are really as bad off without UConn, Syracuse and Pitt as you seem to think. If they were down to an 8 team league of catholic schools, they could all easily pick up two to three non-conference powers to play and be fine in the long run. They don't get football money and could probably pull a basketball TV contract that wouldn't be too far below their share of the current Big East contract. I think a worse scenario for those schools is to see ND get kicked out and see a Memphis take their place. Memphis brings nothing to the table for football and could very easily lead to the loss of BCS membership, yet retaining the huge conference, both in number of teams and geographical footprint. Also, why would they show any loyalty to a school like Syracuse who was already desperately trying to get to the ACC, or to Pitt who would almost certainly jump at a chance with the Big 10?


March 10th, 2010 at 2:29 PM ^

While an eight team conference of basketball-only schools would be viable, it wouldn't make sense for most of those schools to leave the Big East for the sake of Notre Dame. The question is not whether Georgetown or Villanova would survive without the football schools. The question is whether Georgetown and Villanova would side with the football schools or Notre Dame. In order for Notre Dame to threaten the Big East, they would have to be able to take the non-football schools with them to form a new conference. If I'm Georgetown or Villanova, I would side with the football schools if the choice came down to the football schools or Notre Dame because the Big East football schools offer a lot more basketball-wise than Notre Dame does.

If the Big East football conference loses a team, I see two ways for the conference to survive. One is to add Notre Dame, in which case they become stronger. The other is to add TCU and one more team (Memphis, Houston, UCF, East Carolina, etc.) in which case they may have to kick out Notre Dame in order to make room (a 16 team basketball conference barely works; I doubt a 17-18 team conference is really that viable just from a scheduling standpoint, never mind the fact that the revenue would be further divided).


March 10th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

But I still think that if the football schools made a push to give ND an ultimatum when facing the possibility of the destruction of their conference, then they could probably get the non-football schools behind them.

FWIW, I think that the Big East might want to consider adding Memphis, TCU, and an A-10 team (basketball only unless they want to try to take Temple...). That way, they could play a round robin basketball schedule every year and add a couple quality football teams to improve their chances at remaining a BCS conference. Furthermore, should they lose any team, they can always add more A-10 teams to fix themselves, as Xavier, Dayton, UMass, Charlotte, and the Philly schools are all viable choices to plug holes for basketball.

MI Expat NY

March 10th, 2010 at 5:22 PM ^

That's not a conference... that's a loose collection of schools!

Seriously though, I think you're highly overselling what TCU and Memphis bring to the table. Sure, TCU is good in football now, but so was Louisville when they joined the Big East. TCU really doesn't bring much to the table, they are third fiddle in their own metropolitan area. They hardly draw at home, and wouldn't be competitive in the Big East's most important sport. Memphis is so bad in football that their last fired coach claimed it was impossible for anyone to win there since there's no support. With Calipari gone, they're about to slip back into fringe top-25 territory in basketball.

A Big East replacing Rutgers in football and ND in everything else with Memphis and TCU is not going to be stable. I think enough schools will recognize that and keep ND in the mix.


March 10th, 2010 at 5:41 PM ^

1. The expansion I described included Notre Dame as remaining part of the Big East. The Big East needs to add schools that are decent at football. Furthermore, TCU has been competitive throughout the past decade and a TCU Thursday night game would likely get decent ratings, considering that it wouldn't have to compete with any other Texas school. Meanwhile, Memphis provides another quality basketball team and a football team that's really no worse than anyone else in the Big East (i.e. they could potentially be competitive every so often), although I admit that they could be rejected in favor of other schools. A third team was needed to bring the Big East up to 19 teams, so that they could play a round robin conference basketball schedule and continue to raise the quality of the conference.

2. The Big East is incredibly unstable anyway. The ability of the Big Ten (and the demonstrated ability of the ACC) to steal their teams without difficulty is proof of that. The league may fall apart if they lose a team to the Big Ten, so they'll have to do something to try to repair the damage.

MI Expat NY

March 10th, 2010 at 6:15 PM ^

But you're relying on an ultimatum to add ND football and keep them in the league. My point is that there won't be an ultimatum because everyone knows that if ND says no and becomes an independent again in all sports, the league goes bust eventually.

You're also crazy on your TCU and Memphis stance, but I'm tired of arguing.


March 10th, 2010 at 6:53 PM ^

The idea of adding Memphis/other CUSA team and TCU has nothing whatsoever to do with the possibility of an ultimatum to Notre Dame. Furthermore, the reason the Big East would do this in the event that the conference loses a team is because they would have to add at least one team in order to be able to be a football conference under NCAA rules. Adding TCU serves to improve the national appeal of the conference so that the conference can get the type of marquee games that people will actually watch, thus allowing the conference to keep a somewhat successful TV deal. Meanwhile, adding Memphis or some other CUSA team with some history of football success adds another market that will actually tune into games to help fill the void that would be created by losing a top team in the first place.

You fail to note that if the Big East loses a team, they are required to expand to survive because an FBS conference must have at least 8 teams. If the Big East wants to remain a BCS conference, they have to be able to be athletically competitive with the other BCS conferences. Adding TCU can fill a void in football, while a CUSA team can be added as another potentially decent football team without taking away from the basketball side of the conference. So, no, this idea is not crazy. In fact, it's pretty much the same thing that the Big East did when the ACC raided the conference, and it would be done for the same reasons.


March 10th, 2010 at 1:48 AM ^

Notre Dame likes the fact that they play games all over the country. What if they said "screw you" to the Big Ten, bailed from the Big East, and joined the Pac-10? Is that even remotely a possibility? Seems like it to me. If we can go after Texas and either Texas Tech or Missouri, I don't see why geographically Notre Dame couldn't join the Pac-10. Granted Eastern/Central time to Pacific is a bigger deal (the NFL will tell you teams going west to east to play noon games do poorly, although many Pac-10 games are later in day, so maybe a moot point). I'm just thinking out loud here. I would think money is also a big issue, and with the Big10 network, ND would have to either remain independent or join us, otherwise there is no monetary gain (unless the SEC is an option, and in that case, I'll throw my computer out the window)...


March 10th, 2010 at 1:58 AM ^

I find it hard to see ND joining any conference in the near future simply because they pride themselves on being a national brand. If they were to join a conference, they would most likely limit themselves to being a regional plebeian (psh). As it is, they make more than enough money being an independent and being the "anomaly" of college football.


March 10th, 2010 at 3:54 AM ^

It will probably go more like this:
ND joins the big east (fully) because the bigten sucks for a the following Reasons:....
Both Rutgers and Pitt see ND joining as reason to stay in the bigeast themselves, as do the rest of the teams
PSU gets mad that they don't get anyone get to add anyone in their area to play so they defect to the BigEast. JoePa retires in disgust
BigEast goes on to rule the college football world

I do not know how you could disagree =)

skunk bear

March 10th, 2010 at 1:22 PM ^

If you're a fan of Notre Dame, you should want them to join the Big Ten.

While I would concede that if ND can put together a football program that consistently competes for national championships, they could reach higher heights as an independent, there is a downside.

As year after year of mediocrity continues, the generation that grew up thinking of Notre Dame as "America's team" will begin passing from the scene. They will be replaced by a generation that only knows ND as a faded tradition.

As that happens Notre Dame will lose its mystique. The TV ratings will go down, ND's cache will go down and the Irish could become as irrelevant as the service academies.

Joining the Big Ten means there is always a tomorrow. No matter how long ND remains mediocre, there is always a chance to turn it around with the right coach or quarterback. Then the headlines would say "Notre Dame is back!"

Continuing on as an independent carries much risk.

skunk bear

March 11th, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

As Notre Dame's mystique wanes, as a result of the generation that views Notre Dame as college football's greatest tradition being replaced by a generation that views Notre Dame as a has-been, getting that big TV contract shall get more difficult, attracting top coaches and recruits gets more difficult, getting special treatment from the BCS gets more difficult, etc.

As a member of the Big Ten, Notre Dame would still get big TV money and TV exposure even if they remained mediocre for decades to come. They could still attract a coach and recruits because they would be a member of a major conference.

If Notre Dame remains an independent and remains mediocre long enough to lose its mystique, it could go the way of the service academies. Remember, Army and Navy have had many great teams, but nothing (in this life)is forever.

You are obviously convinced of Notre Dame's greatness. What gives Notre Dame its mystique is that there are others like you. Those numbers are going to go down if Notre Dame doesn't turn its program around soon.


March 11th, 2010 at 5:37 PM ^

The difficulties of the service academies has a lot to do with the increased exposure of other programs that also do not require military service after a football career. Going to a service academy makes it very difficult to get into the NFL and locks you into a service. This drastically reduces the pool of recruits that they could get, which when combined with vastly increased national exposure for a ton of other programs, has caused their downfall from greatness. Notre Dame suffers no such disadvantage.

skunk bear

March 11th, 2010 at 7:14 PM ^

But, I was really just trying to show that Notre Dame's future success is not a given. Perhaps I should have just left the service academies out of it. Isn't there a name for introducing an unnecessary point that lets others pick at your argument?

I still think that when college football history is written a century from now, if Notre Dame has faded from the college football scene, it'll be because they refused to join a conference. Some might call it hubris.


March 13th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

Well ND has been about mediocre for the past 10 years when you average it all out and in that time they have signed TV contract extensions twice with NBC. Recruiting hasn't been much of a problem in the same time when the effort was put in and the last coaching search didn't leave many wanting more.

ND's mystique comes from its history much more than its fans, its more than just a football team, its the grotto, the golden dome, going to mass, touchdown Jesus and everything in between. You're focusing too much on only one aspect of the university.


March 13th, 2010 at 4:12 PM ^

I personally think that Notre Dame's advantage lies not in the specific traditions of the school, but in the fact that Notre Dame is one of the most storied programs in college football. The power of the tradition and history at schools like Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, USC, Ohio State, etc. is that they are schools that most of the country never counts out at the beginning of a season, because they consistently produced strong teams for most of their existence. It takes a very long time for these teams to fade as powers in the national mindset, which is the reason that Notre Dame football is still payed attention to very closely. And frankly, that is as it should be, because Notre Dame's legacy gives it major institutional advantages over most programs that should lead to winning (hence why Charlie Weis was such an awful coach).


March 10th, 2010 at 5:25 AM ^

it makes clear that this sh*t could seriously backfire on the B10. Every analysis I have read to now assumed the B10 was in the driver's seat.

P.S. Anybody notice how even the glimmer of a hope from St. John's wakes up all of NYC? That's how I remember it in the city; living in Bkly, Manhattan, and NJ for half of my life, I never got much sense of a love for Syracuse. Awareness, yes. Proximity.

And I don't say that to diss Syracuse; in a way the diary makes Syracuse look more attractive. It makes 14 teams seem like a bigger bite out of the rest of the world for the B10, too--as it pushes toward an image of dominance. But the 'Syracuse gets you NYC' argument always seemed a bit strained to me.


March 10th, 2010 at 9:29 AM ^

I would rather see Pitt, Mizzou, or Iowa State for the natural geographical rivalries. Set up a conference challenge like the basketball program, SEC or BIG 12. Then all BIG 10 schools drop Notre Dame from the schedule. I think we would have more to gain nationally and financially from the challenge. Television interest would be huge for both conferences. As for ND let them eat cake.


March 10th, 2010 at 9:32 AM ^

I would rather see Pitt, Mizzou, or Iowa State for the natural geographical rivalries. Set up a conference challenge like the basketball program, SEC or BIG 12. Then all BIG 10 schools drop Notre Dame from the schedule. I think we would have more to gain nationally and financially from the challenge. Television interest would be huge for both conferences. As for ND let them eat cake.


April 4th, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

I think Michigan State considers Notre Dame a rival and would not care to pass up the money they make when the Irish come to town.

Indiana will do just about anything to sell tickets; there's no way in hell they'd turn down a game with Notre Dame anywhere. I mean, this is the school that took a picture of Ohio State fans filling Memorial Stadium and sold it as an example of Indiana football. (Football is a secondary sport there anyway.)

witless chum

March 10th, 2010 at 10:30 AM ^

They seem pretty happy without one. As an MSU fan, I certainly don't support some Big 10 ND ban. We've got a historical sorta friendly rivalry with them. (Old timers say ND helped legitimize what was then MAC and MSC football and that we probably don't get into the Big 10 without that) Plus, they're a win we can get and often get more credit for then is deserved.

As for expansion, I've been reading this guy's stuff on it.

He makes a lot of sensible points. The main summary is don't think like a fan, think like a university president, about whether the new member would burnish the conference's rep, academically and athletically. Or at least not hurt it in either area. One interesting thing that came up in his comment section was the loud opinion from some ND fans that they would be very unhappy with academic affliation with 11 universities that do non-Pope-approved research. I dunno how widespread conservative Catholicism is within the ND fanbase, but I bet it's a factor among enough influential alums that would be a factor they'd have to consider.

As for the Big East having leverage over ND, I don't see it. My impression is that our mutual friend doesn't care enough about basketball to be strong armed by the Big East. There are also so many basketball conferences that they could absolutely find a home.

Zone Left

March 10th, 2010 at 2:39 PM ^

Dude, that expansion blog is just ridiculous. Seriously, his arguments are just nonsense. He assumes that the Big 10 will add Texas because Texas is awesome. Everyone knows that. Then he basically says Texas isn't interested in moving to the Big 10, but will anyways. He consistently ignores anything that might be contrary to his points.

It's nice to have MSU fans on board, FWIW.

witless chum

March 10th, 2010 at 3:51 PM ^

...of the guy's argument in my opinion, but the thing I really liked was the 'think like university president not a sports fan' thing. I think that's something a lot of people aren't doing when thinking about expansion, especially when they say Pitt or ISU. Those only makes sense if they're just hot to add a 12th team so they can stage a championship game.

Dunno how much you read of Frank the Tank, but I took his general point to be saying that Texas makes sense because they'd be a big splash PR wise, be a great market for the BTN, would fit as a research university and would be a great addition in the Big 2 sports. And he conjectured that Texas would have to at least give it a look because of the additional money they could reap for athletics from the BTN contract, which is so much better (according to him) than even the disproportionate share of Big 12 revenue Texas gets. And the money and opportunities for research that being part of the Big 10 would get them. That sounds pretty sensible to me, who had initially discounted Texas to the BTN as crazytalk.

Just as a fan, I don't want expansion. I don't see the need for a championship game. If the problem is the long break between season and bowls, or the loss of attention, you can address that by scheduling games later in the calendar. If the Land Grant Trophy was obscured by snow, that'd probably be a good thing for all mankind.

I see by the link below, ND's AD basically said 'No, witless, you're full of crap. We do too care about conference.'


March 10th, 2010 at 10:56 AM ^

MY personal dream would be for it to be a school in Ohio, like Cincinnati, so Ohio State could get a taste of what we get up here having to jockey for local recruits with another in-state Big 10 school. Just imagine if we didn't have Sparty, all those football and bball players came to UM? Quite sick. Then again, we recruit Ohio a lot and perhaps another Ohio Big 10 school wouldn't help with that... Who knows... Either way, who really cares. We already play ND every year, whether or not they join the Big 10.


March 10th, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

Notre Dame is in a funny position. The only conference it really makes sense for them to join is the Big Ten. But, I think the scenarios in which they would be forced into a conference would be if the Big Ten chose someone else, which would have the domino effect on the Pac-10, Big XII, and several other conferences.

The other scenario people could be referring to is if the NCAA or BCS tells ND to join a conference or lose BCS money. In that case, I bet they'll be banging on the Big Ten's doors to get in so they don't have to join the Big East in football. ND doesn't want to play West Virginia, Cincinnati, and South Florida.

Zone Left

March 10th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

This is my feeling as well. I think that if the Big 10 expands by taking a Big East team, Notre Dame will receive a lot of pressure from the Big East to join. They'll let ND keep their TV contract if NBC is willing to extend past 2014, because the Big East isn't in a strong enough position to refuse it. ND might accept if a twelve team Big 10 adds a ninth conference game, which would really hurt their scheduling, and may make being independent nearly impossible.

The Big East is in an extremely precarious position for football, and losing one team could force them to try and strong-arm ND in to avoid losing its BCS bid.

Those are my two cents.


March 10th, 2010 at 11:13 AM ^

When it comes to ND joining ANY conference, there is one big hurdle that needs to be overcome.

ND fans think ND is "special" -- at least more than other schools. The reality is that they are not. (Not any more than Michigan, USC, Alabama, other tradition rich schools, etc.) This matters because their donors, students, etc. are a bigger percent of their income because they are private.

Reality doesn't meet perception and it is hard to act rationally when that is the case (and all these scenarios are based on rational thinking).

It's a tough pill to swallow and until they swallow it, they'll keep spitting out talk of joining a conference.

Number 7

March 10th, 2010 at 11:35 AM ^

NY Times had an article on this. (…)

Key graf: "Swarbrick said that the decision to look at alternatives, the most likely of which would be joining the Big Ten Conference, stemmed from external factors. He said that the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten had separated themselves from the other four major conferences — the Pacific-10, Big 12, Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference — because of their lucrative television agreements."

My take is that up to this point, the "ND isn't in the picture and we're looking at Pitt, Missouri, etc" line has all been a bluff: In all categories -- revenue generating potential, athletic department quality, academic standing, geography -- ND waxes the rest under consideration.

Looking at other schools was a way to try to get ND to think about whether it really wanted to go it alone/with the Big East. With network TV on the decline, and the internet making more teams viable at a national level (as opposed to ND being hte only one to pull that off), ND may realize its time to seek safety in numbers.

But if they call the Big Ten's bluff, we may get stuck with Rutgers.


March 10th, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

I usually am not a fan of Colin Cowherd, but he made a rather prescient statement concerning why ND has been so adverse to conference affiliation: "ND has a mirror problem. They look in the mirror and they see Florida or OSU; everyone else looks in the mirror and sees Purdue with a bigger budget." That's the problem with ND - they have 1 NC in the past 30 years, and haven't been competitive in over almost 2 decades. Plus, the whole "we have a deal with NBC" doesn't mean as much when you have the SEC and Big 10 contracts, 4 ESPN channels, plus all the regional broadcasts and satellite deals. Heck, Rutgers is on TV 4-5 times a year, so the exposure advantage ND enjoyed with NBC years ago just isn't as pronounced anymore. As for the financial incentives, my guess is that ND joining the Big 10 would increase Big 10 channel revenue, which would partially funnel back to ND.

At this point, the only roadblock in ND joining the Big 10 is an image issue, and it is one that will hopefully be overcome sooner rather than later.


March 10th, 2010 at 4:45 PM ^

When the dollars and prestige rival what they see in the mirror - they will make the change.

They are proud of their independence. Great while they can afford it. And maybe they still can - today.

But a more careful look into that mirror will show them that while they were once the debutant that all suitors wanted, there are some wrinkles showing now.

Marry for security and money, ND.

You can't marry for love - because you're too in love with yourself.


March 11th, 2010 at 10:09 AM ^

I don't usually listen to him either, but I think it was Cowherd who first called WVU and their fans "psycho-exes" for stalking RR when he left WVU. I happened to be listening in my car at that moment, and was glad to hear someone with a national audience take WVU to task for their behavior, because there weren't a lot of positive words for RR outside of A2 at that time.

Maybe it was just a case of a blind squirrel finding an acorn, but it was still pretty cool.


March 11th, 2010 at 12:19 PM ^

It’s true that ND thinks they’re a lot better than they are.

But ND’s money advantage is very real. Sure, Rutgers is on TV 4–5 times a year, but for Notre Dame it’s something like 10–12 times: their whole home schedule and most of their road games too. And I’ll bet ND’s revenue from the NBC deal exceeds (by a wide amount) whatever Rutgers gets from the Big East TV contract.

Notre Dame also has a huge advantage in bowl season. They will always get a better bowl invite than most other teams with the same record, and they don’t have to share the money. Now, I realize that the Irish didn’t go to bowls in two of the last three years, but I don’t think their recent ineptitude is permanent. A 9-win Irish team won’t come within sniffing distance of a National Championship, but it’s good enough for a strong bowl bid.

I’m not saying that those advantages couldn’t dissipate if the Irish misplay their cards, but the reason they’re independent is mainly about money, not image.


March 10th, 2010 at 1:30 PM ^

The thing to remember is that the Big 10 is on the record that expansion might include more than one team. Here's how the dominoes might fall: Big Ten woos Pitt away from the Big East. That knocks the BE down a couple of pegs as a basketball conference, tips the balance in ND's eyes towards leaving. Now the BE turns around and offers spots to ND and a third team. (Mizzou would be my choice) and we have a 14 team league.


March 10th, 2010 at 7:44 PM ^

Its a maybe for ND because they seriously don't want to but might have to. and the big east maybe a good conference but this could make ND a better team (which scares me) and it would be a great opportunity for them to recruit better players too. If they do join the big ten would take them in a snap because its not long distance and will have great competition if they do join.


March 11th, 2010 at 10:42 AM ^

A while back, I would have said bringing ND into the B10 would have been a great thing. It would probably raise the profile of the conference, in that USC would continue to play the B10 in the non-conference schedule. And ND obviously has a legendary program, and not just in its own, collective mind.

But if ND were a Hollywood starlet, the constant, "tell-me-again-how-pretty-i-am" attitude would make me want to bitch-slap her. Its as though being in a conference - any conference - is beneath the institution, and particularly the B10. We're Michigan; we know from exceptionalism. But, I don't hear anyone saying that we'd do better apart from the B10, or that we've had to mingle with the unwashed in order to be a part of it.

Any place that can smell the decaying sewage wafting in from Gary, Indiana just doesn't seem that special to me. Time for ol' Jim Delaney to tell that bunch of prima donnas to shit or get off the pot.