Big 12 & Big East Expansion: Will West Virginia Departure Trigger Loss Of Notre Dame?

Will Notre Dame basketball follow West Virginia to the Big 12? (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

I haven't covered the whole West Virginia to Big 12 thing. I've been following the Big East expansion stuff even after Pitt left, but the longer this whole thing drags on, one thing becomes more and more evident - this ain't ending anytime soon.

The Big East has been rumored to add teams for some time now, but are moving at the same pace that caused Pitt and Syracuse to bolt at the first opportunity. That said, I found this nugget a few days ago from the New York post interesting: Notre Dame's non-football sports could be leaving the Big East.

Sure, we've all heard that they could join the ACC or the Big Ten. But the report mentions something even different than that - the Irish could leave and move its non-football programs to the Big 12:

West Virginia might have been the last straw -- for Notre Dame.

The Mountaineers' decision to join the Big 12, as reported in yesterday's Post, has placed greater pressure than ever on Notre Dame to retain its status as an independent in football, because the battered Big East Conference might no longer be a home for its non-revenue sports, several sources told The Post.

If the Big East, which is now down to five FBS members, can't reconstitute with new members, the Irish will have to face the choice they have rued: Surrender their football independence and join the Big Ten or the ACC, or retain their independence while joining the Big 12 for all other sports.

Cliff notes version: With the loss of West Virginia, Notre Dame feels the Big East would no longer be viable for even its non-football programs.

Not many people care all that much about what Notre Dame does for volleyball - it's football that matters. ACC or Big Ten? I get that. But even though there's a bit of a geographic fit, I'm curious as to why the Big 12 is viable.

Looking closer to home, though, what does this mean for the Big East? Well, obviously besides losing those programs, you've got to wonder if the move would have an effect on their tie-in with the conference for the Champs Sports Bowl. Big East fans (including myself, at times) have been frustrated with the tie-ins, but the truth is that the conference has more leverage by including Notre Dame when trying to secure bowl games. Without the Irish (and without the status as a BCS AQ conference), the already meager bowl lineup will get that much worse.

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