FORT WAYNE – Ive been all up and down these news archives, this Google thing. So I can say without a doubt that Grantland Rice never penned the words, Outlined against Carolina-blue sky
Notre Dame? The ACC?
This makes sense only if you understand that nothing about the college landscape makes sense anymore, including the word landscape. Geography and logistics are out; mutual self-interest is in.
And so College Station, Texas, in this brave new world, can be a Southeastern Conference destination. Boise, Idaho, can have a Big East and a Big West mailing address at the same time. And South Bend, Ind., can reside on the Atlantic Coast, even though the Four Horsemen never made it farther south than Princeton.
Tradition? Who needs tradition when theres a deal to be cut?
The ACC wanted Notre Dame because, even if it was only kinda-sorta getting Notre Dame football, it was getting the national brand that is Notre Dame football, which is way more important these days than the actual football part. And Notre Dame wanted the ACC because, well, it got to hang on to its chunky NBC deal while simultaneously solving an increasingly problematic scheduling issue.
It aint easy being an independent anymore, given the way the tectonic plates are shifting in college athletics. So Notre Dame cut itself a deal Wednesday in which it agrees to play five football games a year against ACC opponents – almost half its schedule, virtually locked in – and still maintains its autonomy. And, of course, it gets all the lucrative contracts that come with it.
Plus, the mens basketball program gets to go from one heavyweight hoops conference to another that, even if its only a pale knockoff of what it used to be, still carries a certain cachet.
Plus, the womens basketball program gets to go from a solid conference to arguably the premier womens conference.
So forget the added travel expenses for its non-revenue sports, and forget, too, that Notre Dame hoops fits traditionally into the ACC about as awkwardly as Notre Dame football. This was, again, about mutual self-interest – which is why the Big Ten, which would have made far more sense in every way, got left standing on the sidelines.
The ACC gave away the store to get Notre Dame, recognizing that, while ND might be Stanford on the field these days, its still the Rockne Irish off it, its football footprint dwarfing anything else the ACC has to offer nationally. The Big Ten, conversely, was never going to give Notre Dame its own shelf, let alone the whole store.
And so: We now pronounce yet another marriage of convenience.
Notre Dame gets out of the Big East, which is taking on water faster than the Titanic. The ACC gets Rockne and Leahy and the gold helmets, and dont forget Digger and Austin Carr and John Shumate n them.
The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity, ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. Our partnership with Notre Dame only strengthens this long-standing commitment.
Thats one way of putting it, I guess.
We are able to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACCs non-BCS bowl package, and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said.
Thats the better way.