Orange Watch: Notre Dame (like Syracuse) had no choice

Notre Dame has caught Dan's attention

Item: Notre Dame and the ACC both get what they were looking for in this week’s marriage.

Our Orange Watch colleague Wes Cheng passed along the “money quote” of hypocrisy from Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick as he researched and wrote about the Irish’s impending move to the ACC on these pages.


Back not even a year ago (Sept. 17, 2011) following the ‘Cuse and Pitt blindsiding then Big East boss John Marinatto, who was sitting in the press box at West Virginia of all places, when he learned about the duo’s departure to the ACC. It came hours after it had first been reported the evening before.

The bitter reaction from those in the Big East circle included this tirade from Swarbrick to USA Today two days later on the Big East losing two institutions, including a founding member:

» More Orange Watch: Syracuse in ACC state of mind

“I don’t understand it…” Swarbrick began. “How do you vote as a collegiate president on something that has the potential to provide some benefit for your institution and the conference you’re affiliated with, but has a very negative consequence for a host of other members of the academy, as presidents like to call it?

I’d like to know how much of these discussions are: What’s right? What is the best thing for the larger enterprise, and how many other schools would be adversely impacted?

I just don’t know that that’s happening.”

Well, this week’s actions prove one point, Swarbrick’s initial knee-jerk reaction was to fume, but he was left with no choice but to look like a hypocrite when he himself answered the questions he originally posed to USA Today by aligning with the ACC this week.

“What’s right? The need to start shopping N.D. programs around to the ACC and B1G and make a deal, the Big East is sinking fast with no guarantees of TV money at or above the levels other conferences have received.”

» Related: Notre Dame defects to ACC

“What’s the best thing for the larger enterprise? Aligning our school with a much better fit academically than those that will become members of the new (National) Big East. Also getting someone to say “yes” allowing us to keep all of our NBC TV (home football game) money while granting an exception to an “all-in” (football) edict. Block off five (to play ACC teams) of our 12 games? No problem.”

“How many other schools would be adversely impacted? At this point, that’s the last thing on any college president and athletic director’s mind including our own. What’s best for our football program (NBC contract), and excluding hockey all the other programs is of paramount importance, and the ACC is the best fit. That’s the impact we care about.”

Look at it this way, Notre Dame is good for the ACC, and it’s good for Syracuse. If the Irish ever give up football independence, this is where they’ll land. The brand is still relevant, and it will certainly make for one “sick” lacrosse conference with the ‘Cuse and Irish joining Virginia, Duke, Maryland and North Carolina.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.