There has been a lot of talk whether Notre Dame will go straight to the ACC, or join the Catholic 7 for a year or possibly longer. The Catholic 7 is said it will retain the Big East name, but what about all of the non-Catholic schools that are current Big East members? They will likely still be a conference under a new name or depending on what happens they could keep the “Big East” name. Which would be the better fit for Notre Dame? As everyone knows football comes first, which with the new ACC deal they are going to play 5 ACC teams every year. This isn’t something Notre Dame wants to do. One of the best things about scheduling any 12 teams is being able to keep the many rivals Notre Dame plays every year (Michigan, which ends this year, Michigan State, Purdue, Navy, Stanford, USC, Boston College, and Pittsburgh). That is 7 teams 8 if you count Michigan. That is basically like a conference schedule in itself (7-8 games). All are great rivalries and many of them go back to the start of Notre Dame football. Like Navy, without the Naval Academy there would be no Notre Dame, because during World War II, as Notre Dame’s enrollment dropped to number seen during the Great Depression, the Navy decided to establish a Navy College Training Program on the South Bend campus in the summer of 1943, which provided economic relief and stability.
Jack Swabrick stated on ESPN:
If the Catholic 7 is leaving and forming its own conference for next year, they could certainly call us to want to explore our options. And if they were interested in accommodating us, it would certainly be a viable option. We have a lot of respect for those schools and know them well.
The Catholic 7 schools are DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and expected additions Butler and Xavier. There are some other A-10 teams in the mix, but none have been offered yet. If Notre Dame would join the Catholic 7 they wouldn’t have to worry about playing 5 football games within the conference, because none of these schools have an FBS football team. This means the Irish could go back to scheduling whoever they want. Many of the fall sports like soccer, volleyball, and cross country release their schedules by May or June. Joining the ACC will cost Notre Dame some of its historic rivalries, but if they joined the Catholic 7 then they could keep tradition alive in all of those opponents and still be in a good basketball conference.