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Friday, February 8, 2013
Irish AD: Quick Big East exit is best

By Brett McMurphy

DALLAS -- Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick says he believes it's in the "interest of everybody" to have the Fighting Irish and the other nine schools leave the Big East "sooner rather than later."

Swarbrick said the Irish would remain in the Big East for the 2013-14 season.

"It's important to say all we're confirming is where we are next year," said Swarbrick, who was attending the BCS commissioners meeting about college football's upcoming playoff.

The Irish have announced they are leaving the Big East for the ACC in all sports but football. Also, Rutgers (Big Ten) and Louisville (ACC), along with the Catholic 7 basketball schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova -- have given the Big East notification they are exiting the league.

Swarbrick said every team involved would benefit by exiting the league after next season.

"I think it's in the interest of everybody to figure out a way to get it done sooner rather than later," Swarbrick said. "It's not good for the (Big East) conference. You get all this talk about when people are leaving instead of who's in your conference.

"Especially with the announcement now that you've got 10 schools (giving) their intention to leave. I think it's in everyone's interest to make that as early as possible."

Swarbrick said because no agreement has been made to leave before next season, the Irish needed to move ahead as part of the Big East for 2013-14 so coaches could begin putting together schedules. Notre Dame men's basketball coach Mike Brey first brought up the subject during his teleconference Thursday, saying one reason the university decided to remain in the Big East another season is it believes the seven Catholic schools will remain in the Big East next season. "I feel strongly that the Catholic schools are going to be there with us. That's one of the reasons we decided to sit tight," Brey said. "It looked like the Catholic schools were not going to be able to formulate this league that they're going to put together by next season. Now I think anything could happen. Could they put it together in the next six weeks? I mean nothing would shock me. "But I think we feel that they're going to be in there, we're going to be in there, so the last hurrah is going to be next year, not this year." The Catholic 7 still must form the new league and recruit other schools to join the league. Swarbrick said he thinks it's unlikely the Catholic 7 could make that work for 2013-14, but if they do leave before next season, Notre Dame could reconsider its decision.

BreyI feel strongly that the Catholic schools are going to be there with us. That's one of the reasons we decided to sit tight. It looked like the Catholic schools were not going to be able to formulate this league that they're going to put together by next season."

-- Notre Dame men's basketball coach
Mike Brey
Brey said the decision to stay next season allows him to move ahead and start putting together a schedule. "Thank God, we have some direction," Brey said. "We will play in the Big East next year, and you know what? I'm OK with that. I've had a little buyer's remorse on this ACC and going through the league and playing in these different buildings and wondering if it's going to be the last. So that you know you're in the ACC, excuse me, in the Big East, you can start to schedule your nonleague stuff." Brey said the Irish already are scheduled to play Indiana in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis, Ohio State in the Gotham Classic and at home against Santa Clara. Schools leaving the Big East must provide 27 months' notice and pay an exit fee. However, Notre Dame is not required to pay an exit fee if it honors the 27 months. To leave prior to the 27 months -- or before July 1, 2015 -- the Irish would have to negotiate an agreement with the Big East. ACC commissioner John Swofford said Thursday his league will take Notre Dame when it's ready to join, which is up to the school and the Big East to determine.

Big East associate commissioner John Paquette declined comment to The Associated Press on Thursday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.