Notre Dame: Stay Independent Or Join A Conference?

By George Foster, David Hoyt
2004 | Case No. SPM15
In 1993 there was a major realignment of college football conferences, as three schools left the Big East Conference to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, leading to a wave of changes as the Big East moved to replace the departing schools. The University of Notre Dame was the nation’s premier independent intercollegiate football program, unaffiliated with any conference. Notre Dame periodically had considered joining a conference, and had done so for its non-football sports, but had remained independent for football. Independence brought considerable financial benefits, primarily in the form of a lucrative television contract, but also caused difficulties. With the conference landscape changing, the school reconsidered its future, and the possible benefits of joining a conference. The case describes the intercollegiate conference system and the related economic issues.
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