Eric Hansen caught up with Notre Dame Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick this weekend and discussed a little bit of everything. As per usual Savvy Jack was wide open and didn't waste any time getting to the point. The full piece from Hansen can be found HERE and is definitely worth the read. I will discuss some of the highlights below.
The 2014 Football Schedule
"No matter how hard I try to explain it, it just doesn't work," Swarbrick said of next year's yet-to-be revealed slate.
If you've tracked all the stories about opposing schools claiming they are on ND's dance card next year, you end up with a number greater than the NCAA limit of 12 regular-season games.
Swarbrick also mentioned that an ACC opponent could potentially appear in the Shamrock Series game. Needless to say the schedule is still in work and we won't be expecting a "final" product any time soon. Someone is going to get their feelings hurt.
Potential NCAA restructuring
"Is there strong momentum? Yes.. Will it produce meaningful reform? Time will tell."
If you flipped that around a little it would sound like a Yoda answer.
Will some schools leave the NCAA?
"I don't sense any interest in that among my colleagues. But I think it would be wrong not to acknowledge it. When you head down a road like this and start this process, you don't know where it will take you, but there's no momentum for it that I can sense."
This is an issue that we have discussed in the comments here before. I won't be at all surprised if at some point in the not too distant future a few of the power players break off and form their own super conference with its own governing body. Less pesky NCAA rules and even MOAR money! Such progression is the American way right?
The four team playoff potentially expanding to more teams.
"There's nobody who's involved in this process who didn't understand that the moment we announce the four-team playoff, people would want us to expand. Our goal, the way we structured it, is to have it stay this way for a prolonged period of time - set up around a 12-year model."
This issue is one that will likely never go away. Two seconds after it eventually expands to 8 teams someone will start lobbying for 16. It is what it is.
The playoff selection committee.
"All of the commissioners and I were involved with thinking through the criteria of the qualifications and developing a candidate pool, if you will. But I'm not involved beyond that.
Everyone will be up in arms about this committee about 10 seconds after they select the participants next season.
The Notre Dame Stadium Expansion and Renovation
"It's a remarkable process that really touches every part of the university. There are multiple committees with a lot of members putting in extraordinary work this summer, and it's gone very, very well in terms of the process.
The study is due to be complete this fall. I expect the debate machine to get hot and heavy once this goes into work.
Further tweaks to the gameday experience.
"The students, on their initiative, are approaching having a different approach to seating, designed to get the students to come in earlier."
"We continue to refine what we do. I can't think of anything on the order of introducing music that we're going to do this year."
I'm curious to see what the students put together in terms of seating. Will the student section be changing location?
"Absolutely, last year was better. Can we produce a comparable result again? Consistency is really going to be important, but if we move forward with the stadium renovation, that's going to play another factor in this.
"Does it adversely affect our ability to maintain the turf during the offseason?"
That's a nice way to tee it up as a future possibility. Stadium renovation = more non-football use = need for field turf. Got it.
Is "Crazy Train" still on the playlist?
"They're working on the playlist. They're generating new ideas to create enthusiasm. We want our students creating new traditions that they'll hold onto with the same passion that our alumni hold onto the traditions that were created when they were here."
Now that we have gone down this road I wish they would find a way to incorporate Metallica's "Seek and Destroy." I always got a charge out of the intro to that song.
Dynamic ticket pricing.
"It's too early to tell. We have an unusual system that's not a complication, but it just makes it different, and that's our lottery system. So even you wanted to do it, there are significant questions of how you'd connect the dynamic ticket model system to a lottery system."
Not familiar with dynamic ticket pricing? That's how they roll up in Ann Arbor these days.
Why some schools have gone to dynamic ticket pricing.
"A big reason why they're doing it is you hate to transfer all of that value to the secondary market. That's not good for the university. It's not good for our football program. It's not good for our fans."
I wonder how many people buy tickets with the sole intention of turning a profit on the secondary market? I wonder if this dynamic pricing is really a deterrent for them?
The up-tempo is dangerous discussion
"I must say that while I've certainly read the views expressed, what's been lacking here is anybody coming forward with any hard evidence. We have enough teams running very high-octane offenses in the country. Is there a higher rate of incidence of injury in their games or their opponents'?"
This discussion is still lost on me.
Going to China
"We're not focusing on any particular game. Whether it's Stanford or not, we'd still like to get there."
Ireland was cool but I'm not totally sold on this one. I realize that I'm likely in the minority there.
Is ND in a position for sustained success?
"All of the elements of that type of success Brian (Kelly) and his staff has done a great job of doing that. I don't think we have any facility obstacles. I don't think we have talent obstacles. I don't think we have cultural obstacles. So we have a program I think that will sustain success."
"Now will we have down years? Probably. It happens. But, over a period of time do I think we'll be able to keep Notre Dame football performing at a very high level? I do."
Considering where the program was in 2007 and where it is today I would say things are definitely on the right track. All things considered it has been a pretty remarkable turnaround.
What do you think about all of this?