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Would ND make up their darn mind????


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Big Ten holds talks with Notre Dame

By Steve Wieberg and Thomas O'Toole, USA TODAY

While Notre Dame explores a potentially historic move to full conference membership, football included, one potential destination could be crystallizing: the Big Ten.

A league athletics director familiar with the situation confirms that Big Ten officials recently had "some conversation" with Notre Dame, which also has approached the Atlantic Coast Conference. Talks are far from the serious stage, the official said, noting the Big Ten refuses to address the issue until the school formally decides and declares it will make a move.

The Big Ten was frustrated when Notre Dame rejected an opportunity to join 4½ years ago. Should Notre Dame now approach the league  without equivocation  the Big Ten AD said it probably would accept the Irish as a 12th member.

"Right now," said another athletics director, Penn State's Tim Curley, "we're not in a position where we're looking to expand or we're actually pursuing anything. It's a great conference as is." But "personally and also institutionally, (if it were) the right school adding the right value, we'd be open and receptive to it," he said. "I'm sure they (the Irish) fit into that category."

The ACC isn't as natural a geographic fit for the South Bend, Ind., school as the Big Ten. Notre Dame may be "shopping" full membership to the ACC, too, the first Big Ten AD suggested, to prod internal constituents into accepting conference membership and understanding how much more sense it makes to align with the Big Ten.

Outside football, in which it has steadfastly maintained independence for more than a century, Notre Dame competes in most sports in the Big East. It's weighing a move that would include football, in part, because of concerns about its future in the Bowl Championship Series, where the Irish are now a partner with the Big East and five other major conferences.

They're not expected to maintain that position when new BCS contracts take effect in 2006. Already, there is a movement to reduce Notre Dame's take from participating in a BCS bowl from a full $17 million to $4.5 million. That's the limited share awarded to a second team selected from a conference. The leagues object to the Irish, as an independent, retaining all bowl revenues while conference teams share theirs with fellow members.

While that independence resonates strongest with Notre Dame alumni, one prominent graduate said he'll defer to the school's president, the Rev. Edward Malloy, AD Kevin White and other leaders. "Times change," said Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan, a former Irish baseball player. "You need to revisit decisions that were made before all the time. ... Whatever they decide is OK by me."

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The BCS might make it for them:

From the Boston Globe --

BCS changes could sway the Irish

By Mark Blaudschun, Globe Staff, 11/20/2003

Impending changes in the Bowl Championship Series will make it considerably less lucrative for Notre Dame to remain an independent in football and could push the Irish into exploring an affiliation with the Big Ten more seriously.

The BCS, which determines the pairings for the four major bowl games, is finalizing a new contract that will remove many of the special financial considerations Notre Dame receives under the existing deal, according to sources in the BCS and at the school.

Under the current agreement, which expires after the 2005 season, if Notre Dame qualified as a BCS team for one of the top four bowls, the university would receive a full-share payout, which could be as high as $17 million for the original BCS members: the ACC, Big East, Big 12, SEC, and Notre Dame.

Under the new agreement, which could be approved within the next six months, Notre Dame will be put into the at-large pool reserved for the second teams from BCS conferences. That payoff is approximately $4.5 million. For example, if Oklahoma and Texas, both from the Big 12, earned spots in the BCS bowls this year, OU would receive a payout of $17 million and Texas would get $4.5 million. Notre Dame would be locked into that $4.5 million slot in the new BCS contract, which will be voted on by representatives of each member conference and Notre Dame. BCS sources say the new plan will pass.

While Notre Dame officials have said they have never projected bowl revenues into the school's athletic budget, the potential financial drop is a key reason why the Irish have been investigating giving up their independence in football and aligning with a conference in which bowl revenues would be guaranteed. Published reports in the past several weeks confirmed Notre Dame's discussions with the ACC, and there has been a growing feeling the Irish are considering the option of the Big Ten, an affiliation they rejected five years ago.

There is an understanding on both sides that any Irish linkage to the conference would have to be initiated by Notre Dame, and if the Big Ten were receptive, the school would have to be prepared to accept immediately.

"I think that's pretty much understood on both sides," one source at Notre Dame said yesterday. The source did not deny there was potential interest by Notre Dame in joining the Big Ten.

Notre Dame is a member of the Big East in all sports but football, and the conference was considered as another option. But when the Big East responded to the ACC's selection of conference members Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College by inviting Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida as new members beginning in the 2005 season, Notre Dame's interest in joining the Big East in football evaporated, according to sources at the school and the Big East.

Another issue is the television contract Notre Dame has with NBC, which reportedly paid the Irish $40 million over a five-year period. That contract expires after the 2005 season. And while it has been speculated that any new contract with NBC will not be as lucrative, sources at Notre Dame indicate there is not a lack of suitors to televise the Irish games.

The problem with joining a conference such as the Big Ten is that such an individual television deal will not be accepted by a conference with 11 other members.

While the Irish were involved as equal partners in the BCS from its formation in 1998, the landscape and climate of college football have changed considerably. Notre Dame is not regarded in many quarters with as much reverence and deference as it once was, and there is a growing sentiment among individual schools that the Irish should not receive special consideration.

With talk of adding a fifth bowl game to the BCS mixture growing and sentiment to easing the restrictions for the "at-large" berths, the future of Irish football as an independent has reached a new phase in which joining a conference may be more financially feasible, if not acceptable.

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While Notre Dame may be realizing that they are not better than everyone else, they still have a huge superiority complex toward most schools.

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ND joining the Big 10 would give the FB schools of the BE a conference voting advantage.  Not sure what that means but I bet it has significance.

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if nd could get its own tv contract in football and a conference like big east is stupid enough to allow them to participate in other sports, why should nd  do anything different

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if nd could get its own tv contract in football and a conference like big east is stupid enough to allow them to participate in other sports, why should nd  do anything different

Because they could be shut out of the BCS - or relegated to the same rules that would have applied to TCU = Top 6 only... At the very least, an ND BCS appearance will not garner a full share under the next contract...

Also, the next TV contract will not be as lucrative because the team will not be as successful = viewers will not turn in for a Notre Dame team that can barely go 6-6 every year...

Finall, joining a conference provides extra revune through shared bowl payouts... that could be the difference...

Truthfully, the Big East might be willing to allow Notre Dame to have their TV contract seperate from the Big East TV contract... the Big Ten, however, would want Notre Dame to be included in the conference package (which would be worth more), so the Big Ten means a loss of revenue while the Big East could be a gain...

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Trev Alberts was right about this -- they're just "shopping" as a negociating ploy re: their NBC deal. Which should be a clue that it isn't going anywhere, and by extension that they will remain independent. If they joined the Big Ten or ACC they'd have to share revenue with the Northwesterns and Wake Forests of the world.

The current ND/BE deal gives them the best of both worlds: bowl access without having to share revenues or give up scheduling independence. And their presence in the package helps the BE's value to bowls as well. It's a good deal for all concerned.

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You guys seem to be forgetting that this is not a team that will stay 6-6 long.  Ty Willingham...where did he coach?  Stanford?  10-2 Stanford?  THAT Pac-10 CELLAR team?  In the rose bowl?  Hes a good coach.  When he  gets his personnel they are going to be a tough team.  

I'm not saying I'm pro ND or i like them or anything like that because i dont.  BUT they are going to be good.  I hope they are forced to join a conference like the rest of the college football world and lose the favoritism.  

Ideally in a few years from now they'll be at where they deserve: A good (not yet near NC) caliber team that has a strong following but no special treatment.

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big east should kick nd out now but big east seems  to make bad decisions a habit

if nd can get own tv deal from nbc they will stay independant

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Screw ND

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