Notre Dame Goes To ACC: Big 12 Officials Surprised With Move By Irish
News of Notre Dame's impending move to the ACC "came as a big surprise to many in the Big 12," according to Chip Brown of ORANGEBLOODS.com. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and former Big 12 interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas "both had conversations" with Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick about joining the conference, including keeping the school "in the loop about the Big 12's decision to partner with the SEC on the Champions Bowl, which will begin New Year's Night 2015." The conversations "had included Notre Dame playing up to six games against Big 12 schools." A source said, "No one is going to say it publicly, but this is a bit of a surprise and a big disappointment. We thought Notre Dame would be able to pursue its own network in the Big 12 and be a great fit here. I'm not sure what Notre Dame is going to be able to do in terms of its own network in the ACC" (ORANGEBLOODS.com, 9/12). Bowlsby said, "We never got to the point where we were talking about, ‘This is what it will cost,’ or ‘This is what our concerns are.'" He said that extended negotiations "on the Fox and ESPN TV deals also played a role" in Notre Dame not joining the Big 12. Bowlsby: "We had spent some time about how this might fit together. Everybody knew Notre Dame wanted football to stay independent. That creates rough spots, especially for us in the middle of a TV negotiation. Had the TV deal been completed months ago, it would have given us a known element" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/13). Meanwhile, Texas Men's AD DeLoss Dodds said of Notre Dame's move, "They had to do something. We wish they would have come this way, but they did what was right for them and we absolutely understand that" (WSJ.com, 9/12).