I can’t help but be more than a little fascinated by the dynamic playing out between the Big Ten, the ACC and Notre Dame. There’s little doubt that the Irish are the crown jewel of unaffiliated college programs. There’s even less doubt that Jim Delany would give his left nut to bring ND into his conference sphere because of what the school would contribute in value to the Big Ten Network.
But for whatever reason, Notre Dame isn’t biting. Instead, it’s casting its lot with the ACC. There’s already the scheduling alignment that’s been cooked up for football. And now comes news that Notre Dame will become a full-fledged member of the conference for basketball. That’s certainly a welcome development for the ACC’s short-term survival.
But if rumors are to be believed, none of that is slowing Delany down. Depending upon whom you hear from, the Big Ten has made overtures to several ACC schools to leave and join the Big Ten. Nobody’s biting yet, but the uncertainty over Maryland’s $50 million exit fee has been cited as a factor. Who knows what happens if that figure is reduced? Anyway, if Delany’s strategy is to break down the ACC so that Notre Dame has to find a new home again, things could get a mite messy.
And who’s to say that if Delany pulls in a few more Maryland-like programs whose departures topple the ACC, Notre Dame doesn’t go running into the arms of anybody but Delany? I’m sure there wouldn’t be a lack of suitors if that day came. That would be quite the Pyrrhic victory.