John Marinatto on the Notre Dame question

May, 27, 2010
5/27/10
6:00
PM ET
You've asked about, I've written about and many of us agree it's a worthy gamble: Should the Big East kick out Notre Dame, thus possibly saving itself in the process?

The thinking goes like this: Without a home for its non-football sports, the Irish might be forced to accept an offer to join the Big Ten. And then that league could be satisfied enough that it doesn't have to raid the Big East for more teams.

It's an interesting idea. So I put it to John Marinatto, the Big East commissioner. I asked him if the league had kicked that thought around.

"No," he said. "We have not had any of those discussions at any level within the conference. Some of the coaches may have had those discussions amongst themselves."

That led to another question. Remember last month, when Randy Edsall reportedly told a group of business leaders that the football coaches had been asking the conference to deliver an ultimatum to Notre Dame? I asked Marinatto how serious the coaches' demands were and whether that became a topic at the Big East meetings earlier this week in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

"The coaches meet in a room and have an agenda that they create," Marinatto said. "Their discussions may or may not have turned to Notre Dame, but it was not on the official agenda. I'm sure they may have talked about it."

From the conference leadership's perspective, the Irish have been a good partner to the league and there's very little sentiment about ending that relationship. Marinatto and the Big East are trying to find ways to increase their revenue streams and form strategies for the future, which may include a league-operated cable network. As such, they want to keep Notre Dame around as a member that can provide value in different ways, even if the Irish will never join the conference for football.

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