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swarbrick's comments from below

by Jay ?, San Diego, Sunday, September 18, 2011, 08:49

Notre Dame football: Big East tremors may affect ND

By ERIC HANSEN

South Bend Tribune Staff Writer

10:56 PM EDT, September 17, 2011

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SOUTH BEND - Two weeks after having to deal with unprecedented lightning delays at Notre Dame Stadium, Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick is now having to cope with tremors that could eventually shake the school's independent status in football.

CBSSports.com's Garry Parrish reported Saturday that Pittsburgh and Syracuse not only submitted letters of application to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, but that high-ranking officials from both the Big East and the ACC said the vote to accept the two schools could happen as early as Sunday.

How this affects ND is that Notre Dames men's and women's basketball teams and most of its Olympic sports are members of the Big East, and if that league starts to crumble, then ND may have to take another referendum on independence.

"All the time. All the time," Swarbrick said when asked Saturday, following ND's 31-13 upending of Michigan State, how often he plays the what if? game. "You have to. Everybody does. It's not unique to Notre Dame."

"Everyone has spent their time, for a significant portion of the past 14 months, engaged in this exercise. We're probably more active in analysis than some people, because we have more factors to manage.

"I thought of a lot of scenarios in my mind, but this was not one of them."

Football independence has been ND's preference since rebuffing the Big Ten more than a decade ago. The only triggers that figured to change that were restricted access to the Bowl Championship Series, the end of the NBC television contract and/or the implosion of the Big East Conference.

"We will approach this -- no matter what the change is -- with that as our goal," Swarbrick said of football independence. "We'll see whether we can manage our circumstances to meet that goal.

"It felt like maybe things were about to settle down a little bit. I think the Pac-12 was pretty intent on staying where it was. If that were true, the Big 12 had a chance to hold. This was a little bit of a surprise.

"There's so much I really don't know at this point, not the least of which whether it's in fact a done deal. We'll learn much more in the next 24-48 hours. I'll have a chance to talk with our colleagues in the conference, our coaches, (Notre Dame president) Father(John) Jenkins and figure out what it all mean."

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