Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick Not Concerned About Schedule Amid COVID-19

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2020

Notre Dame Vice President and Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick watches during the first half of a regional championship game between Notre Dame and Stanford in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Monday, April 1, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

There is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the 2020 college football season amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the possibility remains that conferences could shorten their seasons to play just league games.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick isn't worried about his team's schedule even with that looming possibility.

"We are very comfortable that if it goes that way, we'll be fine," Swarbrick said, per Heather Dinich of ESPN. "We'll be able to play a high-quality, full schedule, the same number of games other teams will play."

The Fighting Irish's schedule would be in serious jeopardy even if just Power Five conferences limited their slates to league opponents.

After all, 10 of their 12 games as an independent come against teams in Power Five conferences, including Wisconsin from the Big Ten, USC from the Pac-12, Arkansas from the SEC and six ACC opponents.

Swarbrick suggested teams could play a conference-only schedule with a "plus one" game to protect contests of interest such as rivalries between Florida and Florida State, Clemson and South Carolina, and others. 

Given Notre Dame's place as a high-profile opponent that generates plenty of national interest, television ratings and ticket revenue (assuming fans are even in attendance), it could be that "plus one" game for many of its opponents.

"You protect those, but other than that one game, you build your schedule around conferences," Swarbrick said. "We would love Wisconsin to still be able to play Notre Dame in Lambeau this year, or Arkansas to still visit. We just have to see how that evolves, but I'm not concerned about our ability to have a challenging, robust schedule even if the conferences go to a conference-only model."

Swarbrick said the College Football Playoff management committee has been in constant communication as it attempts to figure out a way to hold the 2020 season, although he recognized there is "a significant chance that may not be possible." 

In April, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported there was "strong conviction" from those around college football there would be a season even though there was "uncertainty" regarding the timing and what it would look like with COVID-19 still a serious concern in the United States.

As of Tuesday, there have been more than 1.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 70,000 deaths in just the United States alone.