In a move that was highly anticipated, athletics director Jack Swarbrick announced that the Irish will be removing themselves from bowl consideration.
This statement was just released by senior associate AD John Heisler on behalf of Swarbrick:
meetings again today involving our coaching staff as well as the
leadership group representing our football team, we have made the
decision to remove ourselves from consideration for any postseason bowl game this year.
“Notre Dame institutionally
always has been a strong advocate of the bowl system, and we sincerely
appreciate the bowls and individuals representing them who reached out
to us. However, the unique circumstances surrounding our program at the
current time prevent us from making the commitment required to compete
in a bowl game. If the landscape had been different, we would have been
thrilled to take part – and we certainly look forward to being part of
the bowl system in the years to come.”
I can’t say this is surprising, or worth some of the semi-expected outrage that it’ll no doubt elicit. No, Notre Dame doesn’t think it’s better than a bowl game. They’re a team that’s without a head coach, who also doubles as their offensive coordinator, is being run by a
lame-duck coaching staff that most likely will be gone by the time the
bowl game happens and the football team would have a tough time preparing for a game against a mid-level program that would like nothing
better than to take down a Irish team that is in complete disarray.
Notre Dame really had only two options for bowl games — the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit on December 26th and the GMAC Bowl played after the BCS bowl games. Neither seemed like great opportunities or made great financial or logistical sense.
Tonight’s closed-door banquet most likely will be the last time the 2009 Notre Dame football team will be together.