As soon as the Big 10 announced plans to look into adding another team to the conference, the obvious candidate to join was Notre Dame. However, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrixk told the Chicago Tribune that it is Notre Dame’s “strong preference” to remain an independent.
“Our strong preference is to remain the way we are,” Swarbrick told the Tribune. “Independence is a big part of the tradition of the program and our identity. We’d sure like to try to maintain it.”
Why does Notre Dame want to remain an independent? For Swarbrick, it’s a matter of tradition being more important than finances. While Notre Dame could earn more money with a conference affiliation because of the radio and television fees the conferences collect, Swarbrick said he would rather preserve the rivalries that result from Notre Dame’s independent status.
“All of this has a lot more to do with our priorities than it does with business issues,” he said. “Our independence is tied up in a lot of the rivalries we have. We play Navy every year and have the tradition of USC weekends. Frankly, it works pretty well to play USC in October at home and in November at their place.”