Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2014

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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BY TODD D. BURLAGE F ro m N o t re D a m e m o v i n g through its inaugural season in the ACC, to some important changes coming for the largest athletic depart- ments in the country, to many improvements in and around the football stadium, Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick has been a busy man. We had a chance to catch up with Swarbrick for a state of the union Q&A on what has taken place and what lies ahead at Notre Dame. BGI: There is a move- ment among the "Big Five" conferences (ACC, Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12) to cre- ate a schedule model where only teams from within these five leagues would play each other in football every year. Do you support such an initiative that would eliminate playing smaller confer- ence teams, or any team from outside of these five leagues? Jack Swarbrick: "No I don't. You don't need that to build strength of sched- ule. If you want to build a very tough schedule, you can do it. I trust the [playoff] selection com- mittee in the process to reward strength of schedule. "I don't need some- body else to force some other team to play a cer- tain schedule. They'll make the schedule they make and we want the freedom to do that also. We are one of only three institutions to have never played an FCS opponent. We can build very hard schedules, as we have." BGI: What do you see as the biggest flaw or flaws in this "Big Five" scheduling initiative? JS: "We have an important relationship with Navy we would like to continue, but other schools have important rela- tionships like that too. The important CHANGING LANDSCAPE Athletics director Jack Swarbrick navigates Irish athletics into a new era In 2008, Swarbrick (left) predicted there would be "seismic" changes and shifts coming in college ath- letics, and he has managed to keep Notre Dame well positioned throughout all of it. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

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