First Jack Swarbrick served as stand-in spokesman Wednesday to affirm the consensus on the now-inevitable four-team college football playoff. Then he again affirmed Notre Dame
is happy right where it is.
Yes, the Irish will have access to the new championship mechanism as a football independent, a crucial flash point. But, no, the Irish will not shift allegiance of other sports to the Big 12
soon, as a report contended could occur by the end of summer.
"I saw that and I thought (Bob) Bowlsby and I should hold hands up there," Swarbrick joked, alluding to the incoming Big 12 commissioner. "I have no idea what prompted that. It is not based on any discussion, any meeting we have done."
It's treacherous to deal in absolutes in the ever-shifting college football landscape, especially given the ragged state of the Big East
. One source said such an arrangement with the Big 12 indeed may have to be an option for Notre Dame — eventually, but not imminently.
"I've said all along that there were three important factors for us," Swarbrick said. "One was the resolution of postseason football, which we are closer to. One is a resolution of our media relationship, which we are in the homestretch of.
"The third is related to the stability of the Big East, which we get more information on every day. In that sense, pieces of that are starting to fall into place, and that will put us in a time and place where we probably take a look at it and decide what we're doing."
Closing a new media deal with NBC
, as Swarbrick alluded to, will defog Notre Dame's view on things further. But its position on the most pressing issue — pursuing a national title as an independent — is crystal clear.
"Our interest was ensuring we had an opportunity to play ourselves into any championship model, and we do," Swarbrick said. "There's no obstacle to that for us. If we earn it, we can play in it."