But do they want any of the conferences?
- While the Notre Dame football program is the prize int he Cracker Jack box everyone wants to grab, it's their baseball program we care about here at SimmonsField.com. The Irish made a brief splash in the early part of the millennium to be a real force in college baseball, but have fallen from grace in the past few years. Their RPI average ranking (BoydsWorld.com) since 2000 is a respectable 40th, which reflects the wide range from 14th in 2001 to 191st in 2011.
- Personally, I doubt that Notre Dame will ever be a full fledged member of any conference, whether Big 12 or Big 10. If there's any NCAA school with a bigger ego than the Texas Longhorns, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish would be it. They would demand so many concessions and special privileges from any conference that you might as well settle for the megalomaniac you know (UT) rather adding - or trading - for another one (ND).
Why: One of college football's true bluebloods gives Big 12 instant credibility. Opens Texas wide to the Irish recruiting base. Big 12 gains access to Chicagoland and national TV audiences.♦ Notre Dame reaffirms independence (foxsportssouthwest.com)
Why not: Staunchly, stubbornly independent. Lucrative TV deal with NBC already is in place. First foray into conference membership is with a foundering Big 12?
Chances: 10 percent
"Our priority — and our clear priority — is maintaining our football independence and continuing to build our relationship with the Big East with our other sports," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told the Austin American Statesman when asked if his school could join the Big 12.
Notre Dame is an independent in football, but the rest of their athletic programs participate in the Big East.