Notre Dame could be ready to make a move to the Big 12.
With conference expansion and realignment always a hot topic in college sports, sources tell Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com that the Fighting Irish may be ready to move their Olympic sports from the Big East to the Big 12 by the end of the summer.
As part of the move, Notre Dame would play up to six football games against Big 12 teams. However, that number would most likely be closer to three, according to the report. Of course, the Fighting Irish football team currently plays independents and numerous squads from across a variety of conferences.
While the Irish would maintain their independence in football for now, a transition fulltime into the Big 12 would become easier down the line. Of course, the future of the Big East is up in the air despite bringing in teams such as Boise State from the Mountain West and Memphis from Conference USA. Since Notre Dame joined the Big East, Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College have left. And Syracuse and Pittsburgh are headed for the ACC.
According to the report, Notre Dame as a non-football member is the only expansion target that would receive unanimous approval from Big 12 presidents. It would be interesting to see if a move of Notre Dame's Olympic sports would open the floodgates for the Big 12 to raid the ACC, possibly to snag Florida State and Virginia Tech.
I've always felt that if Notre Dame made any sort of a move with its sports that it would be to the Big Ten. But the fact that the Fighting Irish declined a few overtures from Jim Delany's league in the past may have Big Ten presidents forever salty. The most important aspect working in the Big 12's favor is Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick's close relationship with Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds.
What's amazing is that the Big 12 was on the brink of implosion the last two offseasons, but now the league looks more stable than ever. If the conference is able to land Notre Dame's Olympic sports — and possibly its football team down the line in full capacity — it will be a real coup for the league.
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