Irish committed in Olympic sports
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Wednesday that the school remains committed to the Big East for its Olympic sports, despite a recent report indicating that Texas AD DeLoss Dodds has reached out to gauge the program's interest in joining the Big 12.
"It's a mistake to treat this as some sort of pitch by DeLoss," Swarbrick said, dismissing the report. "We're two people who talk frequently and talk about where we think this business is headed and who's doing what. We've talked about playing each other more, scheduling each other in other sports. It's a conversation that's had all of those elements to it.
"No one should have an impression where there was a point in time where DeLoss was making a pitch to Notre Dame. It's been a more collaborative, collegial discussion about the two schools and how we can do more together."
Dodds told CBSsports.com on Tuesday: "We've talked to Notre Dame about the Big 12 ... They could put some football here (by playing a few non-conference games against Big 12 opponents)."
Swarbrick said he has discussions with athletic directors, not conferences, across the country. And the discussions are simply "routine."
As for his feelings on the stability of the Big East, where Notre Dame currently houses every sport but football, Swarbrick said he came out of the recently concluded spring meetings in Florida with optimism about the future despite recent membership changes.
"Our operating assumption is that we will remain aligned with the Big East," Swarbrick said. "I don't want to create the impression that there's some active evaluation of that going on. As I've said many times, we're sensitive to the changes and we monitor them closely."
Swarbrick did not want to discuss hypotheticals that would have him reconsidering his position. The Big East has lost Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia and TCU in the past year, and replaced them with Boise State, San Diego State and Navy in football only. Temple, SMU, UCF, Houston and Memphis are joining as all-sports members.
"The atmosphere reflected here, the focus on the future leadership of the conference, are all steps toward that (stability)," Swarbrick said. "The work that was done to replace the departing members, that's all good stuff. I don't think there's any reason to not be optimistic about their future."
When asked about the recent changes that have given the Big East a different makeup, Swarbrick said: "Well, every conference is different.
"As long as we have an appropriate home for our other sports, that's really important to us. It's not just that the Big East has been such a great home for us in basketball, it's been a platform for us to win national championships in women's soccer. We're headed to the lacrosse final four this weekend. Many of our programs hvae enjoyed their best years ever in the Olympic sports. It's been a pretty good platform."