Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Irish AD: Fenway reports 'inaccurate'
By Matt Fortuna
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick shot down reports Tuesday afternoon of a possible 2014 game against Connecticut in Fenway Park.
"We have work to do on our future football schedules, given the announcement last week relative to our upcoming Atlantic Coast Conference relationship," Swarbrick said in a statement. "However, media reports today that we will play Connecticut in Fenway Park in 2014 are inaccurate."
Hours earlier, coach Brian Kelly acknowledged the reports and liked the idea of playing in his hometown, provided that the 100-year-old ballpark could accommodate a college football game, which it hasn't hosted since 1968. Notre Dame hasn't played a game at Fenway Park since 1944.
"I just saw that," Kelly, an Everett, Mass., native said at his weekly news conference. "You know me, I love Fenway Park. I just don't know if it's big enough. We don't wanna get into that Northwestern-Illinois game where the [Wrigley Field] end zone's not big enough. So as long as they do the due diligence, and I know Jack [Swarbrick] is looking for great venues, and I don't think they've played a game there in a long time. If it's on the schedule we're gonna play it.
"Being a Boston guy, baseball hasn't been very good there, so maybe we'll bring some football."
When Northwestern and Illinois played a 2010 game in Wrigley Field, the nation's second-oldest baseball venue, a decision was made one day before the contest that the teams would be playing offense in one direction because there was not enough room between the back of one end zone and the ivy-covered outfield wall.
"I think it would be cool, yeah," Kelly said of a Fenway game. "I'd like to do it, but I think more than anything else, I don't know the ramifications of the 2014 schedule as it relates to ACC scheduling and all those things. I've been so focused on getting to the office today."
Kelly has never hid his affection for the Boston Red Sox. The Notre Dame coach was even spotted in the Green Monster seats during a game this July after a home run ball landed in his section.
Notre Dame's future scheduling agreement with the ACC, announced last Wednesday, will give the Irish five games against ACC schools each year. Swarbrick said last week that he planned on implementing that schedule in the 2014 football season. The Irish are scheduled to begin ACC play in all other sports in the 2014-15 season, though it remains to be seen if that switch can be implemented earlier.