“In all facets of life breaking up is hard to do. But it should be done with as much class as possible,” said O”Brien in a podcast he titled “Breaking Up with Dignity.”
O’Brien understands Notre Dame’s dilemma better than most. He took over as athletic director at Temple in 1996, a year after the Atlantic 10 Conference lost West Virginia to the Big East. Notre Dame joined the Big East in basketball in 1995.
Notre Dame announced last month it was joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports except football and hockey. Big East bylaws require members to give the league 27 months’ notice before leaving.
Pittsburgh and West Virginia sued the Big East to leave early. The suits were settled with Pitt agreeing to pay $7.5 million so the Panthers could join the ACC after waiting only one season.
The Mountaineers reportedly paid $20 million to the Big East to play this season in the Big 12 Conference.
O’Brien praises Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick for seeking a mutually beneficial solution to a possible early exit. He said that both sides have characterized the negotiations as “extremely cordial.”
“Undoubtedly the Irish will have to pay an early exit fee, as well they should,” said O”Brien. “But it’s to their credit that they are approaching departure discussions in an amicable manner.”
Merlisa covers Georgetown and Big East basketball. Follow her on Twitter: @merlisa