September 20, 2012

Borton's Blog: Brandon's view on ND

Notre Dame's recent deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference has left some Michigan fans insisting the Irish can take one more step and jump into the Atlantic, period. Michigan athletic director David Brandon makes it clear he's not of that mindset.

The Notre Dame sub of the Big Ten's overtures to join the league has irritated any number of fans. They'd like to see Big Ten schools cut ties with the Irish altogether, as far as scheduling football games.

Brandon says he does not know if the Notre Dame-ACC deal changes the game for the Michigan-Notre Dame series, but he's not planning on that happening.

"It doesn't from our perspective, because we haven't changed anything," Brandon said. "We're still in the Big Ten, we're still playing eight conference games, which gives us four non-conference games to schedule.

"My plan and expectation would be to have Michigan play Notre Dame every year, home-and-home, as we have with an occasional hiatus, which has been tradition. I don't know of any reason that would change, from Michigan's perspective."

The Irish did not list the Wolverines as a high priority, when giving their perspective. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick identified some rivalries that would remain intact, but said nothing of the nearly annual showdown between the top two teams in college football history, in terms of winning percentage.

"It's obvious that we will not be able to maintain every rivalry every year," Swarbrick said. "Getting to California each year is very important to us. So Stanford and USC rivalries will be retained, and of course our history with Navy is unique. And after that, we are going to work to maintain as many of our traditional games as we can."

Brandon remained diplomatic, even with his football program placed in the "after that" category.

"Notre Dame has gone through a substantial process that has led to significant change," he said. "Clearly, they've made commitments to the ACC that are going to put them in a position where they're going to have to make choices as it relates to future scheduling of their other games.

"They haven't engaged with me. I haven't heard anything from Notre Dame that leads me to believe that there is going to be a change, but this is all relatively new.

"The ball is in Notre Dame's court. If they propose some kind of a change in the way our game gets scheduled, they need to come forward and talk to me about it. Otherwise, I'm going to assume we're going to continue to operate in the way we have in the past."

Brandon assured he's not at all put out by Notre Dame's decision to avoid a conference affiliation with the Big Ten.

"Notre Dame needs to do what Notre Dame needs to do, what's in their best interest, and what they're comfortable with," he said. "That's both a judgment their president needs to make on the academic side of things, and that their athletic department needs to make, in terms of the athletic side.

"They need to put themselves where they feel they can be the most competitive, the most effective, and what's going to be in their best interests financially. They've obviously made that choice, and I wish them well.

"There is no motivation for me to have somebody come into the Big Ten that doesn't want to be there, or doesn't feel like it's a good fit. They've made their decision, I respect it, I wish them well, and I'm sure the ACC will enjoy welcoming Notre Dame into their family."

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