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College football realignment: Notre Dame AD's revealing comment on joining a conference

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The biggest question left around college football realignment and expansion has been the future of whether Notre Dame will finally decide to join a conference.

Listening to Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick talk, it sounds like the school is happy where it is - and believes it can stay there.

“I could argue that our independence has never been more valuable than it is right now,” Swarbrick said, via On3's Ivan Maisel.

The fate of Notre Dame has been a major talking point around the latest college football expansion phase which saw USC and UCLA announce they would join the Big Ten in 2024.

That move seemed to indicate that the economics of the sport could demand that big-time programs join a conference in order to get a slice of lucrative TV money.

But Notre Dame has been able to maintain its independence thanks to three key facts, as Swarbrick said earlier this summer: 1) the school's deal with NBC, 2) access to the college football bowl season and playoff, and 3) being able to avoid any "adverse financial consequence" of not joining a conference.

Right now, Swarbrick and Notre Dame don't see any of those becoming an issue.

Not that they don't like being the subject of those rumors.

“If you have two conferences that are separating themselves, but then we’re frequently mentioned with them, that’s good,” Swarbrick said. 

“There have been times when people thought giving [independence] up was inevitable. I don’t get that sense right now.”

That doesn't mean the Big Ten won't be keeping an eye on things in South Bend going forward, just in case.

(h/t On3 Sports)

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