“That’s the role football has to play at Notre Dame.”

I know it’s a common theme for some that the Irish simply have to become a full-blown member of a football conference in order to maintain postseason eligibility, but as long as Notre Dame has a national following — and, like it or not, it certainly has that — it’s going to enjoy its unique status with the CFP.

And if you think an appeal to the school that’s it’s leaving money on the table by not joining some P5 conference as a full-fledged member would sway ND, you don’t understand either the mentality there, or the resources there. ($$)

If that means the forfeiture of tens of millions from media rights deals from conferences, Notre Dame will make that trade. Leaving $20 million or more on the table is not nothing. But if it’s the price tag on independence, Notre Dame will buy without reservation.

“The $20 million is significant,” Dunne said. “Think of the scholarships and the leveraging potential of $20 million, because that’s where it would go, it would go to scholarships.

“That means we have to get together and make up for it. We understand what $20 million after taxes is all about. But our independence is worth more.”

As for what getting together and making up for it means, well…

Next summer the school will conclude its current capital campaign, pitched as “Boldly Notre Dame” in fundraising efforts.

The campaign is expected to clear $4 billion.

As long as college football needs the commercial appeal of Notre Dame more than Notre Dame needs the commercial appeal of college football, the status quo will remain intact.  The school can afford it.



Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

17 responses to ““That’s the role football has to play at Notre Dame.”

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    And they say religion is out of fashion in the USA.


  2. 1smartdude

    I bet if NCAA rules stated you have to be a conference member to get into the college football playoffs, idependance would be damned.


  3. Notre Dame has national appeal to alumni. The school has a big problem on its hands. When the football program was dominant, the best high school football was played in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan … all relatively close to South Bend. Now the Sun Belt (Georgia, Florida and Texas) produce the most and best talent in the eastern half of the country.

    That’s the reason Kirby and the Dawgs need to take Blustering Brian Kelly and the Irish behind the woodshed in September. Make it as difficult as possible for the Irish to recruit Georgia and Florida.


    • Union Jack

      I think their walk in the deserts of Ty Willingham and Charlie Weis hurt them more than the shift in location of the talent. Brian Kelly has had ups and downs too but if he keeps them in the CFB playoff discussions it will attract kids from all over the country.

      By my quick count 47 of 121 players on the ND roster are from states with ACC, SEC, Big 12, & Pac 12 schools. 12 of the 24 Dec signees were from states with ACC, SEC, Big 12 & Pac12 areas.

      Their 2020 class is ranked 7th by ESPN (just behind us at 6) and ahead of UF, A&M, Oklahoma, & Auburn. 247 Sports has them ranked 5th just ahead of us. 7 of their 17 recruits are from ACC/SEC/Big12/Pac12 country.

      Notre Dame’s independence during conference realignment has solidified its standing as the “national” program.

      Yes the proximity to cold weather doesn’t help them but does it help the folks in Columbus or Ann Arbor or Happy Valley? Those schools should be impacted as much if not more by the shift in talent because they are not the national brand that Notre Dame.

      If anything, Notre Dame’s basketball team was hurt more by joining the Big East diminished their basketball brand.

      FWIW – the last time ND won the NC in 1988 the QB was from where?


      • Columbus, Ann Arbor and Happy Valley have one thing that helps them. They have local kids who want to go there because they grew up as fans. You don’t have kids in the Sun Belt saying they have dreamed of playing for ND since they picked up a football for the first time.

        All my point is that ND’s recruiting gets more and more difficult (and expensive) as demographics of kids playing football changes.

        The only way to break that bond is to be a better option than Local State U.


        • Hunkering Hank

          You don’t think ND has kids that grow up wanting to play football there? You’re kidding right?


        • Union Jack

          That is where I think you are discounting the Notre Dame brand vs others. In the those areas that you originally mentioned – you know what is still strong? The Catholic school system. It is not as strong as it once was but it still plays good football, still produces top recruits and kids from those schools often dream or see themselves playing for ND over the state schools.

          I don’t disagree that their location hurts them with top recruits in the South but they still get a fair share of West Coast kids, they’re getting some recruits from here, some from FL, even one last year from Tuscaloosa.

          It will depend on winning though – especially with the shift of players to the Sun Belt. ND with its own network, almost always on national tv, plays a national schedule will draw recruits especially if they become a regular CFP playoff participant.


  4. UnderDog68

    I think ND should join a conference, but in their eyes, why should they? They don’t share any money with other conference members, get all the Bowl revenue, and have that ridiculous contract (again, no sharing the revenue) with the Notre Dame Broadcasting Company (NBC)….As long as they get all that, they won’t join until pressured by the NCAA.


    • What sort of pressure? Denying independents access to intercollegiate sports would invite an antitrust lawsuit at the drop of a hat and I don’t think the NCAA would want to be on the receiving end of a fight with ND.


    • 79Dawg

      What motivation does the NCAA have to force or pressure Notre Dame to join a conference? The NCAA doesn’t “work” for the conferences, nor vice versa…. All else being equal, the NCAA would probably prefer that the conferences didn’t exist.



    I don’t see why anyone cares if ND is in a conference or not.

    But the point above about young football talent is spot on..


  6. whb209

    Next summer the school will conclude its current capital campaign, pitched as “Boldly Notre Dame” in fundraising efforts.
    The campaign is expected to clear $4 billion.
    Really? $4 BILLION…
    It was not that long ago that ND did not play in bowl games. They were voted a bunch of national championships without playing in a big bowl game and then one day they were no longer getting voted champs and they decided to play those bowl games. I doubt it had anything to do with money. Therefore I do believe that in the not too distant future they will join a league, but as long as they are voted in the pre-season top 10 every year (most of the time for no reason except being ND) they will remain independent. Just as the attitude concerning bowl games changed the attitude of being independent will also change.


  7. 86BONE

    Maybe, just maybe, they could take most of that 4B$ and dole it out to the thousands of victims that have been molested by priests over the years. What a crock of shit it is watching that crowd sweep dirty deeds of priests under the rug!
    TOTAL 🐂💩