What are the real reasons why Notre Dame shouldn’t join the Big Ten?

I just read an opinion piece over at Leprechaun Legion that argues that Notre Dame should not join the Big Ten. Here are the writer’s main points:

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.

Notre Dame does have a sweetheart deal, but if the Irish joined the Big Ten and finished in the top eight, they’d still very likely play in a BCS game. It’s not like joining the conference would reduce Notre Dame’s chances of playing in a BCS bowl.

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.

Is anyone arguing that the Irish have to join the Big Ten to succeed at football, or any other sport? Isn’t the argument that the Big Ten is better than the Big East and that Notre Dame is a much better geographic fit in the Big Ten?

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Big Ten invites four schools to join

According to 810 WHB out of Kansas City, the Big Ten has made “informal” invitations to four schools to join the conference.

The Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join. It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are invited in either scenario. Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the opportunity to join the Big Ten. If Notre Dame remains independent, Rutgers would be the 14th team. The Big Ten would then decide whether to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools. If Notre Dame joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school making it a 16-team league.

It’s a little frustrating that the Big Ten calls itself that even though it has 11 teams. Now they’re going to expand to 14 or 16 teams, and for what?

It makes a lot of sense to continue to convince Notre Dame to join. Geographically, that’s the move that makes the most sense. But the Fighting Irish seem intent on keeping their football independence, so the next logical choice would be Missouri, since it borders Iowa and Illinois, but I don’t like the fact that the Big Ten is trying to pluck the Big 12 stalwart.

And 12 teams is the perfect number. In basketball, it’s a small enough conference where a team can play every other team twice (home/away) while in football, it would allow for two divisions of six-teams each. Once you start going to 14 or 16 teams, it’s impossible for basketball to have a balanced schedule.

Easier said than done, but the Big Ten should convince Notre Dame to join the league and then change its name to the Big Midwest. Case closed.

Update: The Big Ten denies inviting any schools to join.

Notre Dame to Big Ten: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Notre Dame is just fine with being an independent, so says AD Jack Swarbrick (via ESPN)…

“Our strong preference is to remain the way we are,” Swarbrick said, according to the report. “Independence is a big part of the tradition of the program and our identity. We’d sure like to try to maintain it.”

Swarbrick acknowledged that the major football conferences make even more money from their own media contracts than the $9 million Notre Dame is paid annually by NBC for the football rights. In the Big Ten, TV and radio rights fees generate $20 million a year for the schools.

But Swarbrick said the football program considers factors other than revenue, according to the Tribune.

“All of this has a lot more to do with our priorities than it does with business issues,” Swarbrick said, according to the Tribune. “Our independence is tied up in a lot of the rivalries we have. We play Navy every year and have the tradition of USC weekends. Frankly, it works pretty well to play USC in October at home and in November at their place.”

It’s the rivalries…really? The Big Ten couldn’t work around the annual home-and-home with USC? I don’t buy it.

It wouldn’t make much sense for the Notre Dame basketball team to play in the Big East while the football team plays in the Big Ten, but it doesn’t make much sense to stay independent either. Notre Dame would be a fine addition to the Big Ten Big Midwest, in both basketball and football.

It seems like a perfect fit, though Notre Dame seems to think otherwise.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Blogging the Bloggers: Manny, pregnant weightlifters, Artest, and more

– SPORTSbyBROOKS details how the Philippines is enraptured by the infidelity of a mega sports star. No, not Tiger Woods — boxing star Manny Pacquiao.

– WITH LEATHER has the story of a weightlifter who gave birth and didn’t even know she was pregnant. For reals.

– BLACK SPORTS ONLINE has Ron Artest’s open letter to Tiger Woods. This should be good.

– RUMORS AND RANTS lists the Top 10 Sports Villains of the Decade. It’s a good list.

– LANE VIOLATION wonders if the Big Ten’s expansion plans will have a ripple effect across the country. If they go to 12 teams, can we throw out the ridiculous “Big Ten” moniker? How about the Big Midwest?

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