Discussions and predictions continue to float around the country as to whether Notre Dame and the Big Ten Conference will sign a Dance Card. While I am personally in favor of an alliance, I doubt that it will occur due to the strong emotional position emanating from their nation-wide, well healed alumni regarding football independence.
Were cooler heads allowed to prevail they would move aggressively forward to establish a mutually profitable relationship with the Big Ten Conference at an early date. I believe there are several important considerations that have not entered into the open debate thus far. First, if Notre Dame University is really serious about its academic status, which they trumpet frequently, they should jump at a chance to affiliate with the Big Ten schools who are members of the prestigious Association of American Universities, like all of the 11 Big Ten members. I thus ask the question: “How important are academics to Notre Dame, or do they simply rely on Notre Dame networking to hold up that tent pole?”
There is a very good article in today’s Chicago Tribune by Teddy Greenstein which you can read at:
My personal fear, if I was Notre Dame, would be the long-term viability of the NBC Television Network contract, if the FCC approves the purchase of NBC Universal by Comcast Cable. As an ex-NBC Station General Manager I know for a fact that Notre Dame Football game ratings are very poor in a majority of NBC television markets. Thus, would Comcast move the Notre Dame games to pure cable, would they continue the NBC contract (and I’m not sure if/and how much the monetary offer would change)? The influence of several high ranking NBC executives who are alumni or have other connections to the university may vanish with the sale of the network within the next year.
Looking at “the big picture” objectivity quickly diminishes the shine of the emotionally based desire to be an independent football powerhouse. Times and conditions change daily and it maybe propitious to take the emotion out of the equation before it is too late to maintain the huge financial pay-day for Notre Dame. The decision should be made on a business basis, and not in the emotionally bravado-charged locker room.
There are extremely strong rumors that Nebraska has accepted an offer to join the Big 10 (I'll bet the name will change soon since it was already the unacknowledged Big 11). I think the fate of the Big 12, with the supposed Nebraska defection, truly is up for grabs since the Pac 10 is also looking to expand and who knows what else will happen. Personally, I think Missouri would be a great invite to the Big 10...or whatever it is called in the future.
Oh, how the plot thickens!