[picappgallerysingle id="3130641"]The hottest topic in the college football world is all about Big 10 expansion. Let’s face it, its mid-May. The fact that we even have any news in college football is a miracle.
This isn’t the first time the Big 10 has explored expansion, but this time, it seems like a legitimate story. The conference has reportedly contacted the University of Notre Dame as well as Nebraska, Missouri, and Rutgers.
For years now, the Big 10 had put an offer on the table, in an attempt to get the Fighting Irish to join. Let’s face it, it would be a dream come true for the conference to lure in the Irish. Notre Dame carries the most prestigious football program in college football. 11 National Titles, seven Heisman winners, nobody can touch what the Irish have done.
Notre Dame has always been competitive in each other sports. The Irish have won the President’s Cup (given to the school with greatest success in all sports), and are a contender to win it each year.
[picappgallerysingle id="7779951"]Skylar Diggins, a part of the ND women’s basketball program, who reached the Sweet 16 in 2009-10
Along with the national championships in football, Notre Dame has won 14 national titles in other sports, most recently, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, and fencing.
Notre Dame is also in “Big 10 country,” and the Irish often compete against Big 10 schools.
In the past, Notre Dame would have offered the Big 10 a 12 team conference, which would put them on the same page as other conferences. That would set up a conference championship game.
This time around, the conference is seeking mass expansion. They are looking for a possible 16 team conference, although they will probably fall a few schools short of that.
The Big 10 conference has always wanted the Irish to join the conference, but the love isn’t mutual. The move would not make sense for the Irish. There is no need to jump ship.
The Irish are a member of the Big East conference in 21 of the 26 sports that Notre Dame competes in. The one sport which they are independent in is football.
The Big 10 conference will throw every offer and benefit they have at Notre Dame. Out of the schools that have reportedly been offered, no schools bring the prestige and brand name that Notre Dame would bring.
But a move to the Big 10 would not make sense for Notre Dame. There are many different reasons why the university should turn down an offer from the conference.
The biggest reason why universities are considering the move to the Big 10 is to put their respective athletic programs in a place to potentially win championships. The Big 10 offers a platform to play in BCS Bowls (Rose Bowl, etc.) and in a National Title game.
Notre Dame has their own deal with the BCS. The Irish receive an automatic birth in the BCS if they finish in the top eight.
The Irish are a member of the Big East in most other sports, which provides a great platform to reach the NCAA tournaments for each sport.
Notre Dame does not need to join a conference to succeed in football, or any other sport.
Another reason why schools would consider an offer from the Big 10 conference is to gain exposure. The Big 10 carries the Big 10 Network, which is the largest television network of any conference. The Network carries games of almost every sport, and gives great publicity for each member of the conference.
The television exposure shouldn’t be a worry for Notre Dame. The Irish have every football game aired on national television. Each home game since 1991 has been aired on NBC, and the university and NBC have recently agreed to an extension on the deal, which would air home games through the 2015 football season.
[picappgallerysingle id="6842346"]Exposure has never been a problem for Notre Dame
In addition, the Irish play road football games on ABC, ESPN, and sometimes, CBS. Notre Dame has always been shown on television. Playing on the Big 10 Network would be a step down, compared to the network television stations that the Irish play on.
In other sports, Notre Dame can be found on television. The basketball program is shown on television between 10-20 times. The women’s basketball program had many games aired on ESPN. Other sports can often be seen on ESPN, CBS College Sports, and other television networks.
If the Irish were looking for a new television deal, they should look any other direction, as opposed to joining the Big 10, and playing on their TV network.
Another reason the Irish should stay put is to hold together their rivalries. Notre Dame has rivalries in football with USC, Michigan, Michigan St., Boston College, Purdue, Stanford, and also an annual match with the Naval Academy.
If the Irish were to give up their status as an independent team and join a conference, they would have to drop those rivalries. Things just would not be the same if the Irish and Trojans did not battle each fall. It would be a shame for college football if Notre Dame did not play against USC.
[picappgallerysingle id="6841788"]Could you imagine Notre Dame and USC not playing each fall?
The largest and most important reason that Notre Dame and any other school would consider an offer from the Big 10 is money. Let’s face it, money rules everything.
If Notre Dame were to join the Big 10, they would receive $20-22 million. That seems like a lot of money, but that is pocket change to Notre Dame. The university receives $7 billion in endowment.
What good can that extra $20-22 million do? Not much for a university that reels in as much wealth as Notre Dame does. It just doesn’t make a huge difference for UND.
A move to the Big 10 would make sense for the other schools. Rutgers is trapped in the weak Big East conference, and is stuck in college sports purgatory. Nebraska and Missouri are in a Big 12 conference that could quickly deteriorate, and soon, may not even exist.
A move for either of these schools would make much more sense, and could greatly benefit them.
Things are different for Notre Dame. The Irish have no reason to join the conference. They are currently in a position where they don’t need to move.
Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick admitted in March that the college sports landscape is changing. That is so far from the case for the Irish. Things in South Bend aren’t changing, and just don’t need to change.
Notre Dame does not need to change. They will forever carry prestige and stature as one of the most respected and successful universities. They don’t belong in the Big 10. A move would not make sense. The Irish should stay put.