There was no talk of a Jumbotron or who he thought would be the starting quarterback for the 2012 season, but several other topics were discussed when I sat down with Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick for a one-on-one interview Wednesday afternoon.
It’s been a hectic summer for Swarbrick, whose time has been mostly occupied by helping to develop a four-team playoff model in college football that was approved by university presidents on June 26 and will go into effect beginning with the 2014 season.
The process itself, how it affects Notre Dame and what still needs to be ironed out over the next year to make the new format work dominated the hour-long interview. However, Swarbrick took time to chat about a variety of topics, including:
• A rundown of nearly every sport offered at the University and the many success stories in the past 12 months.
• Notre Dame’s relationship with the Big East and how the recent changes to the league impact Fighting Irish Olympic sports and football independence.
• The misperception that major conferences interested in adding Notre Dame are trying to squeeze the Irish out of independence.
• Balancing tradition with staying current and the feedback Swarbrick receives whenever Notre Dame tries something new.
• What Swarbrick feels are his greatest accomplishments when looking back at his time at Notre Dame.
• The 2012 football schedule and how folks should get used to such a menacing slate moving forward.
• Negotiations with NBC regarding renewing a television contract and the emphasis put on further developing UND.com as an alternative to a Notre Dame network.
• Solidifying bowl tie-ins before the Irish enter a new postseason cycle in 2014, how that works and where recent talks with the Orange Bowl and ACC fit into the process.
• Things Swarbrick has learned along the way since arriving in South Bend in 2008.
• Revisiting recent facility upgrades and their impact on the University and local economy.
• Though Swarbrick doesn’t play a role in the Office of Residence Life, he provided some insight as to why and how some rulings are made when concerning Irish student-athletes.
• Where conference realignment is headed and a look back at the reactionary decisions early on that started a domino effect.
• The obvious improvement in football recruiting since head coach Brian Kelly was hired.
These topics and more from our conversation with Swarbrick will be featured in the coming weeks, beginning with a piece Saturday concerning the end of the BCS and the start of the playoff era in 2014.
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