Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 15, 2012 Issue

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

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UPON FURTHER REVIEW TODD D. BURLAGE thing of substance come out these or- chestrated exercises. One notable exception happened in A July 2008, when Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., introduced Jack Swarbrick as the 11th athletics direc- tor at Notre Dame. Most of these introduc- fter sitting through hundreds of press conferences over the years, I've learned that rarely does any- Businessman And Visionary Jack Swarbrick: tory gatherings are noth- ing more than a verbal résumé outline, complete with promises of a bright future and the obligatory promise to "hit the ground running." Swarbrick's was different that day — way different — because he actually offered a forecast of the tur- bulence building on the college athletics horizon years before it arrived. "I believe that I accept this job on the media" would be part of the "conver- gence of forces" that would lead to "seismic changes" in college athletics. All of us left the press gathering scratch- ing our heads and trying to decipher Swarbrick's cryptic message. Fast-forward four years and two months, and not only was Swarbrick's foresight on the future of the NCAA spot on, but so is his vi- sion and handling of Notre Dame's place in it. No AD in the country Among his accomplishments, Swarbrick managed to protect Notre Dame's independence on the gridiron while still holding a secure place for the Irish in the national championship picture. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND threshold of extraordinary change in intercollegiate athletics in America," Swarbrick explained. "I think it will be enormous. I think there's much about this industry you won't recognize in 10 years. We must be at the forefront of that. We must participate in leading that change. Notre Dame cannot have that dictated to it." Swarbrick only glanced at specific pendence yet still holding a secure place for Notre Dame in the Bowl Champi- onship Series mix, to finding the best home for the other 20 Irish athletic pro- grams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Swarbrick is building his legacy as a rock steady force during a turbulent time and as arguably the most powerful man in college athletics. As Swarbrick vowed in 2008, no- has faced more challeng- ing issues and important decisions than Swarbrick during his first four years on the job, and he's pulled aces every step of the way. From protecting inde- examples, broadly explaining that "shifting allegiances" and "broadcast body dictates to Notre Dame anymore, and the benefits of his decisions are felt throughout the athletic depart- ment. Independence keeps the football pro- gram in a national scope and allows the

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