The Big Ten’s flirtation with Notre Dame ended the spring of 2010, just before Nebraska was invited to join the league of Bo and Woody.
So no one at Big Ten headquarters was remotely surprised with Notre Dame’s decision to align with the ACC, an obvious upgrade over the Big East.
The only question, one source said, was whether the football commitment would be for three, four or five games. The fact that it’s five showed that the ACC got what it wanted in negotiations, at least in that respect.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick have an excellent relationship, but it became clear in 2010 that a union would not work.
The Irish wanted to maintain football independence, and the Big Ten would not even consider adding a partial member. It’s a split-everything, all-for-one and one-for-all league.
So the Big Ten carries on with 12 schools. People can speculate about a future of mega-conferences, but there’s a far better chance that the Big Ten will stick with 12 for the next hundred years.
“We are very pleased with both our current conference membership and our conference structure,” Delany said in a statement.
As for whether Notre Dame will maintain its series with Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State (Northwestern is also on the schedule in 2014 and 2018), a Big Ten official said that is simply up to the schools. The league does not plan to impose any scheduling restrictions.
Michigan is off Notre Dame’s schedule in 2018-19, but there are plans to have the rivalry continue from 2020-2031.