Notre Dame HC Marcus Freeman Doesn't See School Joining Conference amid Expansion

Adam WellsJuly 28, 2022

SOUTH BEND, IN - APRIL 23: Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman looks on as he takes the field in action during the Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring Football Game on April 23, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Amid the constant reshuffling of conferences across college football, it appears as if Notre Dame is going to remain an independent.

Head coach Marcus Freeman said on ESPN's First Take that being an independent "is what we love" and it's "what our program's built on."

First Take @FirstTake

Marcus Freeman doesn't see Notre Dame joining a conference anytime soon πŸ‘€ <br><br>"Right now being independent is what we love, it's what our program's been built on." <a href="https://t.co/M95ckg2Yii">pic.twitter.com/M95ckg2Yii</a>

Notre Dame is one of seven schools that currently operate as an FBS independent. Army, BYU, Liberty, New Mexico State, Connecticut and Massachusetts are the others.

BYU (Big 12), Liberty (Conference USA) and New Mexico State (Conference USA) will be joining conferences starting with the 2023-24 academic year.

The entire structure of college football has been shaken up due to realignment in recent years. Texas and Oklahoma accepted invitations to join the SEC in July 2021.

Per Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman, the 2024-25 academic year will likely be the first year that the Sooners and Longhorns are playing in the SEC.

In response to Oklahoma and Texas leaving the Big 12, the conference announced last September that BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston will be added to the group. They will join the conference for the 2023-24 academic year.

Last month, USC and UCLA announced they were leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten starting in 2024.

Amid all of the conference reshuffling, The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach noted on June 30 that she spoke with someone in college athletics who believes this eventually leads to two "megaconferences" with the Big Ten and SEC having at least 20 members each.

Per a September 2019 report from Chris Smith of Forbes, Notre Dame's three-year average profit of $76 million ranked fifth among all FBS programs. Its three-year average revenue of $120 million was eighth in FBS.

The Fighting Irish are a member of the ACC in all sports except football. The football team did compete in the ACC during the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They went 10-0 during the regular season and lost to Clemson in the conference title game.

Freeman is entering his first season as head coach at Notre Dame. The 36-year-old spent last season on Brian Kelly's staff as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. He was promoted in December after Kelly took the LSU head coaching job.