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Big 12 would have liked but didn’t need Notre Dame

By Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star –

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Remove Notre Dame from the Big 12 expansion list.

The Irish are headed to the ACC, competing for championships in all sports except football, the school announced Wednesday. Notre Dame will play five ACC football opponents annually with every team in the league getting a shot at the Irish every three years.

That’s similar to suggestions I heard about the Big 12 and Notre Dame during the expansion rumor swirl, although the arrangement never seemed like a strong possibility with the Irish’s alumni base pointed East not South and West.

The Big 12 would open its championships to the Irish and there would be some kind of regular-season football scheduling deal, perhaps even some games at Arrowhead.

Also, the Irish would have access to the Big 12 bowl lineup, and that’s the case with the ACC.

The Big 12 would have loved an association with Notre Dame, perhaps the greatest brand name in college football. But the conference didn’t need the Irish. The complete round robin scheduling in football and basketball in the 10-team league has proven popular. And adding the Irish without a football schedule wasn’t going to be the path to further expansion.

The TV deals with ESPN and Fox, bringing league teams some $20 million annually, is secure. On that subject, the $20 million is merely a base and doesn’t include third-tier rights, which are included in other conferences.

Kansas receives some $6 million for those rights, which means its total take away from media right this year will be $26 million. Because of The Longhorn Network, Texas will earn $35 million from media rights.

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