Report: Big Ten Waiting on Notre Dame Decision; 'Standing Pat' on Oregon, Washington

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 1, 2022

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The Big Ten is reportedly in a holding pattern as it waits to see if Notre Dame intends to join the conference.

According to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, Big Ten officials have told Oregon and Washington the conference is "standing pat for now" as it awaits Notre Dame's decision.

On Thursday, USC and UCLA officials notified ESPN's Pete Thamel and Heather Dinich that their respective applications to move from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten had been accepted and that they would begin Big Ten play in 2024.

In the wake of the decisions by USC and UCLA, the Pac-12 released the following statement, noting that it intends to explore expansion options:

Pac-12 Conference @pac12

<a href="https://t.co/zieBdwnLvv">pic.twitter.com/zieBdwnLvv</a>

With the departure of USC and UCLA putting the Pac-12 in dire straits, it has been speculated that other top Pac-12 programs such as Oregon, Washington and Utah might consider leaving as well.

Given the Big Ten's expansion into a superconference rivaling the SEC, speculation has ramped up regarding Notre Dame moving to the Big Ten as well.

While Notre Dame officials haven't said anything publicly about interest in the Big Ten, it may prove too much to resist joining the conference given where realignment is heading.

USC and UCLA are about to join the Big Ten, while Texas and Oklahoma have already committed to moving from the Big 12 to the SEC.

Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reported on Thursday that a source told her to expect the Big Ten and SEC to become megaconferences with 20 or more teams each.

If that happens, it would perhaps spell the end of the Pac-12, ACC and Big 12, or place them well down in the pecking order at the very least.

With the exception of the 2020 season, Notre Dame has always been an independent program in football, and it has worked out well to the tune of 11 national championships and two trips to the College Football Playoff.

In 2020, Notre Dame played in the ACC for one season due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. While it was uncommon for the football program, many of Notre Dame's other athletic programs are in the ACC, including men's and women's basketball.

If Notre Dame wishes to move all of its programs to the Big Ten, including football, there could be some massive ramifications for the school.

Per ESPN's David M. Hale, there is a television contract in place through 2036 that requires Notre Dame to play in the ACC if the football program decides to join a conference.

Should Notre Dame try to play elsewhere, it would face financial penalties worth $150 million or more.

Even so, from Notre Dame's perspective, there is likely great appeal in sharing a football conference with the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and USC.


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