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Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick Big on Adding Stanford/Cal to ACC



Notre Dame

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has been a big proponent for adding Pac-12 schools Stanford and Cal to the ACC.

Conference realignment has been a large part of the college football landscape this summer, as teams have left and moved around the major conferences.

The collapse of the Pac-12 started with both USC and UCLA announcing their decision to leave for the Big Ten in July 2022. Colorado started the leave this summer by announcing their decision to return to the Big 12, with Arizona, Arizona State and Utah choosing to join them shortly after. Oregon and Washington also decided to join the Big Ten with USC and UCLA, albeit, with a worse deal than than them.

Washington State, Oregon State, Cal and Stanford are the only four teams remaining in the Pac-12. This 2023-24 academic year is the last that the conference will have 12 members.

The ACC is the only Power 5 conference to not add or lose any teams, as the SEC will add Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 in 2024. There has been discussions of expansion with Cal and Stanford both heavily a part of them. SMU is also willing to put up a lot of money to join the ACC from the American conference.

Former U.S. President George Bush and former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice have both been instrumental in conference realignment. Bush has pushed SMU and Rice has pushed Stanford to try and join the ACC.

Swarbrick went on the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday, speaking about conference realignment as a, “complete disaster.” He said that Notre Dame is putting a lot of work into getting both Stanford and Cal into the ACC.

“I wish I knew,” Swarbrick said on how conference realignment has gotten here. “Everybody in the industry has to take responsibility here. Im not excluding myself from that. I think the decision making has lost its way in terms of the focus on the student-athlete and what’s primarily best for them. But we are where we are and we have to try and make it work. We’ve been pretty vocal in the past month about, “We need to find a home for Stanford and Cal.” You can’t have two great academic institutions not have a place to play.”

Swarbrick believes that the Pac-12 will die and is putting a lot of effort lobbying both teams into the ACC.

Patrick asked Swarbrick whether conference realignment keeps the student-athlete in mind and whether the NCAA should make them employees. Swarbrick didn’t like that idea at all, wanting to keep the distinction between student-athlete and employee, making sure the student-athletes are a part of the student body and also pointing out that Notre Dame was the first school in the country to support NIL.

When Patrick asked him about whether the recent moves are made by greed, Swarbrick somewhat conceded on his previous response.

“Well, they’re certainly based on money,” Swarbrick said on the moves between conferences. “There’s no question and some of that is the demands that have arisen over time to find more revenue to meet this requirement or this requirement. So I’m not terribly comfortable with the description of it as greed, but it’s all about money.”

Notre Dame, despite serving as a full voting member for the ACC, is still independent in football, which is the sport that colleges are changing conferences for.

Some have seen it hypocritical for Notre Dame to be so bullish on bringing in Stanford and Cal, despite not participating in the sport that brings in the most revenue.

Patrick asked Swarbrick about what it would take for Notre Dame football to join a conference. Swarbrick said that if Notre Dame didn’t have a media partner, which they currently do with NBC, and if they needed a conference that would allow their Olympic sports to compete at the highest level, then they’d consider it.

“I don’t know if it was particularly close, but if we hadn’t been able to find a home for our Olympic sports with the ACC, maintaining football independence would have been problematic,” Swabrick said. “We needed a partner who would allow our olympic sports to participate at the level we want them to.”

Swarbrick said that all the major conferences are a possibility for Notre Dame to join in the future, noting their olympic sports are in the ACC and hockey is in the Big Ten.

The conference did not have enough votes to add Cal and Stanford, as four schools opposed the expansion. Those schools are Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and North Carolina State.

The ACC needs 12 of its 15 members to vote yes on bringing teams on. Without the 12 schools needed for support of the move, the vote can’t happen.

Pitt is reportedly in favor of bringing in both Cal and Stanford into the conference, with athletic director Heather Lyke largely in favor.

There has been some reports on Wednesday that the ACC is close to adding Stanford and Cal, as well as SMU in the coming days. Stanford also, reportedly, would agree to receive low or no media rights payouts in order to join the conference.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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10 months ago

Screw Swarbrick and ND and their “Do as I say, Holier than thou BS”!! He pulled the same sh*t blasting Pitt when the Big East broke up. ND is a big reason why we are where we are with college football with their contract with NBC. They pretty much started the arms race. If he cared so much about the Big East back in the day and the ACC now, then why doesn’t he have ND football join one of the conferences??!! Oh and he just so happens to have a law degree from Stanford so I don’t think this… Read more »

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