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Swarbrick on Big East / ACC

by Jay ?, San Diego, Monday, December 17, 2012, 13:39

Notre Dame's Swarbrick to push Big East for answers 'sooner than later'

By Brian Hamilton
Tribune reporter
2:32 p.m. CST, December 17, 2012

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The split of seven Catholic schools from the Big East, it was suggested to Jack Swarbrick, produced a lot of asset-splitting that made it very much like a divorce.

"And we're the kid," the Notre Dame athletics director joked Monday.

It's really no laughing matter, though, when the fracture in the Big East hurls the various schedules of the Irish's non-football endeavors into doubt for next fall. The primary question: Will there even be a league to compete in?

In order to ensure his teams have people to play, Swarbrick said he will push for a resolution as quickly as possible. Asked if he'd like to settle it in a month, he replied: "Maybe even sooner, frankly."

"You gotta try to push people," Swarbrick said. "The challenge in this environment is, we're not the focus right now. We're the tail. That's a little but of the challenge for us: How do you accelerate the discussion? How do you get some clarity? I don't know where the point is, but there is a point where I can't have our teams at risk, of not knowing what they're doing. And that's probably sooner rather than later."

Notre Dame, of course, set at least a few dominos falling by announcing on Sept. 12 that it would join the ACC for all sports except football and hockey. The school was never on the hook for an exit fee from the Big East but was required to wait 27 months before moving.

Negotiations to leave earlier than that mostly revolved around creative scheduling to help fill Big East holes, not Notre Dame ponying up some cash. But does the Big East tumult now make Swarbrick more optimistic that the Irish will be in the ACC for the 2013-14 season?

"Boy, that's a good question," Swarbrick said. "Every day brings new information. More optimistic today than I was a week ago, just because of what's happened. But not far along to be any more definitive than that."

Until then, Swarbrick has to figure out who to talk to between the Catholic schools and the football-playing schools of the Big East, just to move the process along.

"Those two parties have to divide assets," Swarbrick said. "It poses a question about who you're even talking to. Who is the Big East? Which of the two sides of that has the Big East name and rights? Who might lay claim to the Notre Dame affiliation moving forward? It's an interesting dynamic to figure out where that's all headed.

"I have to make sure our student-athletes are taken care of. You could imagine a situation where that division happens and we're on an island. We're by ourselves. We haven't figure it out yet, but I'm also very conscious of the fact that, at some point, we have to know what next year looks like, and who we're playing."

swarbrick, ACC


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