The chorus of pundits opining whether Notre Dame football should join a conference will never cease, and the noise is starting to get a lot louder.
With the sudden shift of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten, experts wondered if the Notre Dame football team would make a similar move. Slap the Sign site expert Brad Weiss believes the Irish are the final piece of the puzzle for the Big Ten. The Fighting Irish represents one of the biggest brands in college athletics. A brand that remains untethered to a conference.
Regardless of which conference beckons, Notre Dame is unlikely to drop independence any time soon. But, who predicted that the Trojans and Bruins would play under the same banner as the Buckeyes and Wolverines? The college football landscape changes daily, if not hourly. What would it take for the Fighting Irish to end over 100 years of independence?
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick previously stated the decision to join a conference shifts on three factors: 1.) access to the College Football Playoff, 2.) a home for the school’s Olympic sports, and 3.) a television partner.
The most recent, albeit shocking, news that USC and UCLA plan to join the Big Ten does not alter Notre Dame’s independent status. The fact that USC and Notre Dame will continue their rivalry only strengthens the Irish position. However, these factors could change as more teams bolt for new destinations. Proposed new massive television contracts could also shift the balance of power. Most likely, a television partner will always want to broadcast the Golden Domers. What needs to happen with these factors before Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick feels compelled to join a conference?