If the conference realignment mess has taught us anything over the last three or four years, it is that one big move begets another. Conference commissioners just can’t resist moving the chess pieces around.

The news that Notre Dame is joining the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in all sports but football is another shot in the back to the Big East. But what’s really surprising is that the Irish did anything at all, having convinced the alumni that Notre Dame is self reliant and far above anything affecting other schools.

Since Notre Dame doesn’t play football in the Big East, the loss of the Irish should have no impact on the league’s football outlook. It was good to have ND as an opponent in non-football sports, but the Irish really didn’t significantly move the needle on potential or actual revenue for the University of Louisville.

Back to the original point, however, the Notre Dame move does kick start the conference realignment process all over again. What happened up until now is child’s play. The massive egos of the SEC, the Big Ten, and the Big 12 conference commissioners and conference members will not allow them to stand idly by without responding in a very significant way to this latest power shift in college football.

Who knows where it will lead for the University of Louisville? The one certainty is that UofL is much too valuable a property to be left out of the equation as the process continues.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

10 thoughts on “Notre Dame may have kickstarted next wave of conference realignment”
  1. This whole conference realignment quagmire feels like it’s being run by a bunch of former football players with concussions. Truly a circle jerk by a bunch of old has-been jocks who will be roundly laughed at for decades after this is all over.

  2. My guess is that ESPN has promised big $’s to Notre Dame when their existing NBC contract is up.

    If the Big Ten has ever harbored any thoughts about bringing in ACC teams improve their TV network footprint they better strike while they can. The contract has not been signed yet, so there is a small window here where things could happen very very quickly. ND is off the table now and so is any Big 12 team with their new GOR – if the Big Ten network wants to expand into new markets they better strike now.

    The same thing goes with the Big 12 wanting to pull teams – they could do this before the contract is signed. However with the ACC getting 5 games a year against ND it’ll be a slightly tougher sell to pull Florida State or Clemson out as the strength of schedule for the conference as a whole will be up and the extra money closes the gap with the big twelve quite nicely.

    Now that ND is off the table we could see things happen fast and furious.

  3. If ESPN is indeed being vindictive and is really trying to kill the Big East then its almost done. TCU, West Virginia, Pitt, Cuse and Notre Dame have all been removed.

    The coupe de grace would be asking the Big 12 to go 14 and take Louisville, UConn, Rutgers and Cincinnati. ESPN woud have cooked the Big East’s goose and put a fork in it.

    Just a thoughy, but then there would really just be the Power 5 conferences in charge of college football.

  4. Even coming from the mouth of The Biggest Fan of th Big East, we need out of this conference yesterday. Here’s hoping that this will start the rest of the dominoes falling in a positive direction for UofL and its fans.

  5. I’ll take it. Means that the UofL women’s basketball team doesn’t have to worry about Muffett McGraw anymore. Bye, bye…see ya later and don’t let the door hit you in the backside on the way out.

    P.S. Take UConn and Geno with you. Please…

  6. Some crazy guess: I don’t see the Big 12 expanding yet so how about the Big Ten? We could go with Cincinati and expand their media market. It might not be the best option but it might work.

  7. I don’t really think this latest move will have dramatic repercussions across the board. Had Notre Dame chosen the Big 12 it might have been different, but even then without playing football, there is no real need to add another school for balance. The ACC doesn’t play basketball or any sport other than football in divisions so having an odd number of schools isn’t a real issue. My guess is the trade-off for ND keeping the NBC contract was the 5 game commitment. I don’t think discussions with the Big 12 had gotten that far.

    UofL at this point can only hope that the Big 12 can convince BYU to give up its stance on its own network and join up unconditionally. That would require another school and with strong support from Oklahoma (who really wanted UofL over WVU – that was another Texas power play) the Cards should make it. Absent that, UofL probably doesn’t bring enough market power to move the TV needle enough to entice the Big 12 to expand and share the pie more. Forget the Big 10 – UofL is not ranked high enough academically to suit them and there are no expansion plans there anyway. UofL also doesn’t bring a new market since the Big10 Network is already here and IU is treated as a home team. The ACC would be nice, but I think they’re done for the foreseeable future.

    1. There’s little precedent to compare an urban school like Louisville, which has been successful in every conference it has joined, in one of the major conferences. The decision makers, largely tradition bound with their jock mentalities, are overlooking a good opportunity.

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