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Hanging out with Jack Swarbrick

Jul 30, 2012, 2:01 PM EDT


It’s been a busy summer for Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. In between extending basketball coaches Muffet McGraw and Mike Brey’s contracts and reworking college football’s postseason, it didn’t seem like much of a vacation for the man in charge of Irish athletics.

With football season right around the corner and training camp about to start next week, Swarbrick’s year is about to get much busier. But before that kicks off, our friends at are hosting a state-of-the-union like conversation with Swarbrick, where “representatives from several prominent ND online fan communities” will have their chance to discuss all things Notre Dame athletics.

I’m lucky enough to have one of those spots in the conversation.

Here are the details:

Tuesday, July 31st at 7:30 pm EST
Google+ Hangout with Jack Swarbrick
Where: Notre Dame Athletics’ Google+ Page (You need a Google+ account to access)
Moderator: Jack Nolan
Keith Arnold,
Mike Coffey,
Ryan Ritter,
Lisa Kelly, Bridget McGuire’s Filling Station
Ed Jordanich, Dome and Domer Podcast
Eric Murtaugh, One Foot Down
Pat Mitsch, Blue-Gray Sky

As I like to consider myself a representative of my constituents, I’d like to open up the comments below for your questions for Swarbrick. They don’t need to be football specific, but I’ll probably lean towards a football question, since that’s what we focus on here 52 weeks a year.

(This is also the part where I remind you to save your wise cracks for a different website. Serious questions only, please.)

With seven participants, it’ll be a cozy “Hangout,” and a terrific opportunity to get a chance to see behind the curtain of Notre Dame athletics.

So best question below gets asked (the judge being me) and I look forward to seeing you all on the interwebs tomorrow evening.

  1. dickasman - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    When is the jumbo tron going up? Personally, I have not attended any games because I prefer to watch replays on tv.
    Also want to applaud him for making good modern era decisions. Let’s not stop!

  2. andy44teg - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    How serious have discussions been about switching to artificial field turf??

  3. irish4006 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    How will he measure progress from last year? Besides W-L (schedule is a major factor here), what areas will he be looking at in 2012 to call this season a successful (or not so successful) one?

    • dickasman - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      Duhhh! Revenue

  4. irishsportstalk - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Very impressed with Notre Dame and Jack for doing this. I’ll try to join but do have other engagements during that time.

  5. grattanstanford - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    What can a prog

  6. indyron - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Where do you stand on the topic of an early signing period?

  7. ndlv - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    When you first became AD, what specific weaknesses did you identify with the football program. Which ones have already been (successfully) addressed and which ones will (hopefully) take place in the near future? In other words, what was your specific plan to rebuild the program and what still needs to be accomplished?

  8. irishbornraised - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Does he feel that he made the schedule too difficult and made winning too difficult a task
    Also, would he ever consider going back to the traditional green uniform for special occasions and how did he come to the decision/whose idea was it

  9. dickasman - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    What are his expectations for coach Kelly this year?

  10. irisheyesinsd - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Keith, this is a long preamble, but given the hot topic of conference affiliation, the unstable footing of the Big East conference and our desire the have conference ties in all other sports except football, it might be interesting to see how Jack answers a question about scheduling future Big East opponents. I remember a few years back (maybe under Kevin White?) ND’s plan was to schedule 3 Big East football games each year as a way of staying connected to the conference without actually joining it. That was easy to do when the conference had BC and Pitt–two teams we scheduled regularly and the occasional Syracuse, West Va, Rutgers.
    Now scheduling a BE team is slim pickings…Uconn, Rutgers, USF etc. Louisville or Cinci anyone?

    It might be telling of our commitment to our future affiliation with the conference (in all other sports) if he answers with strong affirmation that ND is committed to continue scheduling BE teams. If he answers tepidly, maybe it shows ND is keeping its options open with future conference affiliations in other sports (ACC/Big XII) and ending that commitment we previously had with the BE.
    He might find away around the question. With Temple and Navy moving to the BE, it looks like we will always have one BE opponent on the schedule and two in a couple of years.

    Maybe the question goes like this: Given ND’s affiliation with the BE in all sports except football and hockey, what is your philosophy regarding the scheduling of Big East opponents in football? With the changes in BE membership in football, do you see this as an opportunity to schedule conference members more frequently or less often?

  11. irisheyesinsd - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    One more:

    What progress has the equipment/apparel team made on getting the uniforms–particularly the pants–to match the new gold helmets?

  12. gtizzo - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:22 PM


    There was a rumor that Swarbrick was reworking the NBC deal. That would be my question and if he can offer any details.

    • bogtrottin - Jul 31, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      I’d also ask about his comments last year regarding an ND cable channel & how that ties in to the 2015 (or whatever it is) expiration & negotiation of the NBC deal. Are NBC & NDTV mutually reinforcing or mutually exclusive (hope the former)?

  13. mtflsmitty - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    The fact you asked, Keith, is very cool of you. Lots of good ideas above, and I’m sure you have plenty of good thoughts of your own. Looking forward to the answers. Thanks again.

  14. bernhtp - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    A few questions for Jack:

    1. Your relationship with U Texas and its AD appears to have been very important in shaping the football conference alignments and post season formats. Please give some deeper color on how this worked behind the scenes.

    2. I love the upcoming four-game series with U Texas. What do you think about extending this and making it into a longer-term rivalry?

    3. What do you see as the primary challenges to returning Notre Dame football to elite status, and do you believe those challenges are now being addressed?

    4. Will the NCAA address the lack of commitment many institutions have to their athletes, e.g., oversigning, low graduation rates, accepting kids that are clearly academically unqualified, etc?

    5. Can ND compete in men’s basketball at the highest level given that most elite players are “one and done,” which is something Notre Dame can never accept?

    6. Wouldn’t many of the problems of oversigning, low graduation rates, “one and done,” etc. be dramatically reduced if scholarships where made non-transferable (specific to an athlete-school for four years) regardless of transfer, injury, drop-out, etc? Is there any inclination or possibility that the NCAA (and its member schools) would change rules in this direction to better the sport (with some increase in total scholarships to compensate)?

    7. Notre Dame football’s independence is often criticized as elitist, but isn’t the opposite true? While conferences once secured traditional rivalries (Texas vs. Texas A&M), made geographical sense (unlike SDSU and Boise St. in the Big East), and simplified scheduling, the recent flux/realignments make them seem passé and they now appear to be just political organizations. Comment?

  15. rrussellndfan - Jul 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Jumbo Tron! More night games! More alternate uniforms! I’m young I like the modern things and I’m sure the recruits would too. I love the difficult schedules it brings more recruits in. ND football is already exciting but the players seem more hyped up when they have new uniforms and it was awesome watching the night game last year. Except when crist lost the ball on the goal line, that was an absolute killer.

    • bernhtp - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      The combined effect of Ozzie and the glare of the night lights on the new helmets caused Dayne to fumble the snap. The replays from a jumbotron would have caused mass suicide and general mayhem. Do you want to be responsible for that carnage?

  16. irish2011 - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:44 PM


  17. georgegipp - Jul 31, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    Question from George H., 1997 Arts & Letters Grad, San Francisco:

    In reaction to the Penn State situation, WNDU quoted Jack as saying the following: “The lesson for me from the Penn State situation…is do we have a culture built here that if someone saw something that was wrong would they feel comfortable coming forward …I hope we have that culture. I think we do.”

    It seems to me that strong culture is good, but perhaps not enough. I’d like to know if Jack would agree that you also need strong systems in place. If so, how are ND’s systems better equipped than those of Penn State’s? How does ND test it’s systems and culture? Do the lessons from the Declan Sullivan incident or other incidents help inform his thinking?

    In essence, what is Jack doing to ensure that Penn State could NEVER occur at ND?

    • georgegipp - Jul 31, 2012 at 3:16 AM

      For reference, the full WNDU quote can be found here:

  18. 1ohioirish - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    What’s the probability of maintaining football independence….[1 to 10]….given all that you see on the horizon ?

  19. irishmurphy25 - Jul 31, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    1. If the Big East were to fold, what are the odds that ND is able to remain an Independent in football?

    2. I read an article that the ACC might accept ND’s olympic sports while allowing football to remain independent if ND plays 5 or 6 games against ACC opponents each year. Is this true? Have talks like that gone on? And if so, would that constrain ND too much to one type of opponent?


  20. irishbornraised - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    my question: what happened 2day

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