You know what we haven’t had in a while?
A real, honest-to-goodness realignment rumor.
Sure, we’ve had Butler going to the Atlantic 10 a year early and Old Dominion and VCU leaving the CAA. Davidson, College of Charleston and Stony Brook are all apparently hot commodities now, as was Boston University.
But last summer we were talking about the collapse of the Big 12 and the Big East. We were wondering whether Kansas and Kansas State would end up in the Mountain West. We were dealing with rumors that, for some reason, considered UConn and Rutgers football schools.
Well, thanks to Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com, the potential of my summer full of beach trips and Bells Two Hearteds turning into the third straight summer of Expansionocalypse just quintupled:
Two sources in the Big 12 said Wednesday the possibility of Notre Dame moving its Olympic sports out of the Big East and into the Big 12 is becoming more and more likely. Speculation is growing among those sources that an announcement could come from South Bend before the end of the summer. As part of such a move, Notre Dame, which has a contract with NBC to televise its home football games through the 2015 season, would agree to play up to six football games against Big 12 competition (but most likely three or so to start with), sources tell Orangebloods.com. Notre Dame would maintain its independence in football … for now. If the Irish ever felt compelled to join a conference in football, the Big 12 would be ready and waiting for them.
In case you didn’t know, basketball is actually considered an Olympic sport. Doesn’t that make you feel great? Basketball plays as much of a role in the decision making process as swimming, fencing and rowing. Awesome.
Back to the point, losing Notre Dame would obviously be a major blow to the Big East as a basketball conference. Mike Brey has put together a program that is always battling for a spot in the NCAA tournament, if not for a conference title. With the likes of SMU, Central Florida and Houston joining DePaul and Providence at the bottom of the conference, the Big East needs all the quality teams they can get.
The good news is that Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s AD, shot down this rumor today:
“I saw that and I thought (Bob) Bowlsby and I should hold hands up there,” Swarbrick joked, alluding to the incoming Big 12 commissioner. “I have no idea what prompted that. It is not based on any discussion, any meeting we have done.”
It’s treacherous to deal in absolutes in the ever-shifting college football landscape, especially given the ragged state of the Big East. One source said such an arrangement with the Big 12 indeed may have to be an option for Notre Dame — eventually, but not imminently.
“I’ve said all along that there were three important factors for us,” Swarbrick said. “One was the resolution of postseason football, which we are closer to. One is a resolution of our media relationship, which we are in the homestretch of.
“The third is related to the stability of the Big East, which we get more information on every day. In that sense, pieces of that are starting to fall into place, and that will put us in a time and place where we probably take a look at it and decide what we’re doing.”
Why do I get the feeling that this won’t be the last time we’re hearing about this rumor?
(Photo via NY Daily News)
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.