When Brian Kelly decided to stay at Notre Dame and not bolt for the NFL, it was assumed that Kelly would be landing a new contract. Many postulated that his flirtation with the NFL was merely a rouse to get the administration to pony up more cash. But, this was in January. It is now April. Where is the deal?
If it was about money, the contract would be finished by now. Despite having an endowment that reaches into the billions, Notre Dame does not always pay top dollar for its coaches. There are many reasons for this but one of them is based on the academic reputation of the school. It has been suggested that some professors are hesitant to work for a school that pays the football coach an exorbitant amount of money.
However, Notre Dame probably could still pay Kelly what he wants. It has also been rumored that the real issue is about the money needed to pay the assistant coaches. Notre Dame has the money. If they want to keep Kelly, they would fork it over.
But, the issues may be deeper. Is it about field turf? A jumbotron? More training table? An individual dorm for athletes? These are issues that Kelly could be facing. Jack Swarbrick may be on board with Kelly but the administration may dig in their heels.
Field turf and jumbotrons are changes that everyone can probably live with. Even old stadiums such as “The Horseshoe” and “The Big House” both have these features. These are more of a sign of the times and not how a school should be perceived. They can be done tastefully.
The other requests cut at the heart of the University. Notre Dame has prided itself on at least trying to offer the same experience for all students. No one is different regardless of whether you play a sport or not. In reality, everyone knows that is not true but the administration makes an effort.
If the administration would begin to allow things just for football players or athletes then Notre Dame would become a different place. It could be these changes that are preventing a contract right now.
As fans and outsiders, we do not know what the issues are. But, these could be possibilities. The longer this negotiation goes on the more problems it will create in recruiting and amongst the parties. Everyone would benefit from a quick conclusion to this process.