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Notre Dame's football independence could be in jeopardy

Possible changes to the major college football landscape could lead to a dramatic change for the university's football program.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said the possible expansion of the Big Ten could force the Irish to give up their football independence, according to the Associated Press.

With the Big Ten and Pac-10 exploring expansion, Swarbrick told reporters Tuesday in New York that realignment changes could be "relatively small...or they could be seismic."

When the Big Ten announced it was exploring expansion in December, Swarbrick said Notre Dame's preference was to remain independent because it was a big part of the program's tradition and identity.

But on Tuesday, Swarbrick said he and the Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, will evaluate whatever changes occur and assess how they affect the Irish.

"You can each come up with a scenario that would force our hand," Swarbrick said.