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Very interesting about Notre Dame and the Big East


Jim Johnson

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This is the first time I am seeing this ... and I don't know how much stock to put in this blogger... but I found this blogger because several others have cited him as fairly reputable... [Edited for paragraphs and emphasis added]

The Real Reason Why Notre Dame’s Hand Might Be Forced

...

Now, I mentioned in a post last week that a Big East message board obsession might be coming true. In reality, it’s really more like 2 related Big East message board obsessions coming up to the surface: a mandate to Notre Dame and a possible split of the league. It had been my belief for a very long time that there really wasn’t anything that the Big East could tell Notre Dame (as I explained in this post looking at Big East expansion options a few months back). Well, it turns out that I may be wrong since there is a mechanism that has a lot of teeth (and it’s counter-intuitive as to who is pushing the issue).

A source with knowledge of the agreement that was entered into by the Big East schools following the ACC raid of 2003 states that in the event that 2 football members leave the conference, the football and non-football members can split the league without any penalty and retain their respective revenues, such as NCAA Tournament distributions. What is surprising is that the Catholic non-football members comprise the faction that is pushing the issue. If you recall, those schools met back in March to discuss “contingency plans”.

Apparently, the Catholic schools have decided that they will exercise the split option if 2 Big East schools leave the conference (no matter who they might be) and have informed Big East commissioner John Marinatto as such. Financially, the Catholic schools would actually be in a fine position because they would have a large reserve of NCAA Tournament credits with Georgetown and Villanova having both made it to the Final Four in the last 4 years. There is also the stability and cultural fit standpoint, where the Catholic schools are not enthralled with the “usual suspects” of Big East expansion candidates from Conference USA.

(In a side note, FedEx CEO Fred Smith has reportedly offered millions of dollars to a BCS league that would invite Memphis. Someone suggested to me that this type of offer could run afoul of Federal anti-corruption laws for inducing a public official, such as a public university administrator, to perform an official act. If there are attorneys practicing criminal law out there, let me know if that would be the case.)

As much as the football members may complain about the hybrid model, the Big East is in a position where it will always need to leverage its basketball league in order to provide coverage for the football side. The Catholic schools are the ones that give the Big East an entryway into New York City, Chicago and Washington, so removing them actually hurts the football members more than the other way around.

This affects Notre Dame from several different fronts. Externally, it’s still optimal for the hybrid to stay together for all of the Big East members, so Catholic schools like Georgetown may be willing to sacrifice its connection with Notre Dame in order to preserve the hybrid model and its basketball games with Syracuse and/or UCONN. This gives to teeth to the rumored pressure from the Big East on Notre Dame to make a decision on whether to join for all-sports.

Even if there isn’t an ultimatum per se, the Big East is on notice that it will split up with the loss of 2 members without question. Therefore, if the Big Ten takes Rutgers and Syracuse, for example, it automatically forces the break-up of the Big East (where it’s not just a hypothetical threat). My understanding is that Notre Dame simply will not join an all-Catholic league for non-football sports when push comes to shove. Notre Dame’s alums may believe that it will be okay only because it would still be a pretty good men’s basketball league, but the problem is for all other sports. The athletic department size disparity between Notre Dame and the Catholic Big East members is the equivalent of USC or UCLA moving their non-football sports to the West Coast Conference. That’s just not going to cut it for an athletic department of Notre Dame’s size and stature, no matter how much its alumni base believes football independence matters more than everything else combined.

That’s the angle a lot of people are missing: Notre Dame’s decision on conference membership actually has very little to do with football. The Irish can still keep its NBC contract and there really is no danger of the program being shut out of the national championship picture even if 16-team superconferences are formed. A lot of Notre Dame haters go overboard in arguing that the Irish are heading toward football irrelevance.

In reality, Notre Dame has as strong of a fan base as ever and it’s shown every time that the team is halfway decent. However, the rest of the Irish athletic department will suffer a ton of damage if the Big East loses any members. Once again, the Notre Dame alumni base might be perfectly fine with throwing every other sport under the bus, but the leadership at Notre Dame won’t be. There is little rational justification to let that happen when the Big Ten offers more football revenue anyway plus a major reduction in travel expenses.

The rise of superconferences might give Father Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick the PR cover with Notre Dame’s alums to make a move to a conference, but it’s really the terms of the Big East agreement combined with the stance of the Catholic membership that are putting the legitimate pressure on the Irish.

http://frankthetank.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/the-real-reason-why-notre-dames-hand-might-be-forced/

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Interesting article but can someone translate it a little?

So IF the BE loses Rutgers and Syracuse, then the 8 Catholic schools split away, even though ND wouldn't want to?

Would the basketball only schools retain the Big East name? Would the six leftover football schools lose their AQ to the BCS or have to form a new league?

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If the Big East splits then Notre Dame will have to join a league. He is arguing they will not remain independent in football and remain in the catholic league that emerges from the Big East split.

I believe he is suggesting they will feel forced to join the Big Ten or some other league and they can claim "we had no choice".

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If the Big East splits then Notre Dame will have to join a league. He is arguing they will not remain independent in football and remain in the catholic league that emerges from the Big East split.

I believe he is suggesting they will feel forced to join the Big Ten or some other league and they can claim "we had no choice".

So then if Notre Dame left the catholic basketball schools would be down to 7.

That seems dumb....then why split? Is Georgetown and Co. essentially daring Notre Dame to leave?

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So better hope no more than 1 leave. Or maybe you want that. Not sure how all the money and even the name would be split up.

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Months ago I mentioned the ND ultimatum suggesting that they would then fill the BigTen's 12th spot and end all further realignment.

Doesn't make as much sense to do it now since the BigTen would likely pick off another one of our teams in the process to stay at an even number (or take one from the ACC who might pick off one or more from the BigEast).

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Months ago I mentioned the ND ultimatum suggesting that they would then fill the BigTen's 12th spot and end all further realignment.

Doesn't make as much sense to do it now since the BigTen would likely pick off another one of our teams in the process to stay at an even number (or take one from the ACC who might pick off one or more from the BigEast).

That scenario is out the window, anyway.  Nebraska is member #12, and two other teams have moved already.  The Texas and Oklahoma schools seem to be moving somewhere, even if where hasn't been decided yet.  Only a Hail Mary new TV contract carved out by Don Beebe could possibly keep the landscape from changing dramaticallly at this point.

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If the Big East splits then Notre Dame will have to join a league. He is arguing they will not remain independent in football and remain in the catholic league that emerges from the Big East split.

I believe he is suggesting they will feel forced to join the Big Ten or some other league and they can claim "we had no choice".

No... what he is saying is that if the Big Ten takes two Big East teams (say Rutgers and Syracuse) the Big East basketball schools will exercise their right to split the conference.

We had talked previously that splitting the conference was bad from a revenue standpoint because "the BIG EAST" would remain with the basketball schools (which is true)... but apparently the NCAA revenue from the basketball tournaments would stay with the respective teams, so the "football" side would still get it's share of basketball revenue.  Something that had not been discussed here before.

Notre Dame will not want it's Olympic sports to play in an all-catholic conference.  Even if the Big East addded Xavier, Duquesne, Dayton, and other Catholic schools.  Thus, Notre Dame will ultimately be forced to join the Big Ten.

Strange logic, eh? Notre Dame doesn't move to the Big Ten so the Big Ten grabs two Big East teams causing the Big East to split and thus forcing Notre Dame to join a conference.


Meanwhile, what isn't said in the blog post, is the Big East six remaining football schools would be without a home... looking to merge with, perhaps, the Big 12 leftovers to form a 10-team conference - likely adding Memphis and at least one other school to get to 12.

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No... what he is saying is that if the Big Ten takes two Big East teams (say Rutgers and Syracuse) the Big East basketball schools will exercise their right to split the conference.

We had talked previously that splitting the conference was bad from a revenue standpoint because "the BIG EAST" would remain with the basketball schools (which is true)... but apparently the NCAA revenue from the basketball tournaments would stay with the respective teams, so the "football" side would still get it's share of basketball revenue.  Something that had not been discussed here before.

Notre Dame will not want it's Olympic sports to play in an all-catholic conference.  Even if the Big East addded Xavier, Duquesne, Dayton, and other Catholic schools.  Thus, Notre Dame will ultimately be forced to join the Big Ten.

Strange logic, eh? Notre Dame doesn't move to the Big Ten so the Big Ten grabs two Big East teams causing the Big East to split and thus forcing Notre Dame to join a conference.


Meanwhile, what isn't said in the blog post, is the Big East six remaining football schools would be without a home... looking to merge with, perhaps, the Big 12 leftovers to form a 10-team conference - likely adding Memphis and at least one other school to get to 12.

So basically the Big East is trying to get ND in for football before it all hits the fan. 

How this plays out will depend a lot on if one conference gets to 16 and the others feel obliged to follow.

Let's say that Penn State has its way and the B10 adds Syracuse, Pitt, and Rutgers while leaving a spot open for Notre Dame to slide in.  The PAC-10 gets to 16 and the SEC ends up raiding bits of the ACC, possibly grabbing Louisville from the BE remnant, and maybe taking Mizzou from the B12 remnant.  The logical thing in the east is for the remaining BE all-sport teams to merge into the ACC.

But there are issues too.  The main B12 remnant team that will look for a bigger conference will be Kansas because their basketball could suffer in a move to the MWC.  And while Kansas doesn't scream "Atlantic Coast", the ACC would probably still love to have them to further strengthen the basketball side of things. 

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No... what he is saying is that if the Big Ten takes two Big East teams (say Rutgers and Syracuse) the Big East basketball schools will exercise their right to split the conference.

We had talked previously that splitting the conference was bad from a revenue standpoint because "the BIG EAST" would remain with the basketball schools (which is true)... but apparently the NCAA revenue from the basketball tournaments would stay with the respective teams, so the "football" side would still get it's share of basketball revenue.  Something that had not been discussed here before.

Notre Dame will not want it's Olympic sports to play in an all-catholic conference.  Even if the Big East addded Xavier, Duquesne, Dayton, and other Catholic schools.  Thus, Notre Dame will ultimately be forced to join the Big Ten.

Strange logic, eh? Notre Dame doesn't move to the Big Ten so the Big Ten grabs two Big East teams causing the Big East to split and thus forcing Notre Dame to join a conference.


Meanwhile, what isn't said in the blog post, is the Big East six remaining football schools would be without a home... looking to merge with, perhaps, the Big 12 leftovers to form a 10-team conference - likely adding Memphis and at least one other school to get to 12.

So basically the Big East is trying to get ND in for football before it all hits the fan. 

If the Big East offers ND an ultimatum to join in football or leave, they are essentially asking ND to leave the conference to save the hybrid. ND will not join the Big East in football when better options are available. If they feel like they have to join a conference, it will be somewhere else.

ND is in a tough spot if all the above are correct. The Big 10 can pretty much force them to join by taking two teams or saying that they will take two teams.

Another wild card scenario that keeps getting pushed around on the Big East message board, is the football schools (minus maybe Syracuse and Rutgers who want to join the Big 10) will leave the Big East and join the remnants in the Big 12 and keep the Big 12 name and add a couple of teams.  That would force ND's hand as well.

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