Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman comments on realignment: 'We love being independent'
Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman was asked about the Fighting Irish’s independent status in an interview on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Thursday morning.
Freeman told Mike Greenberg and Heather Dinich that he defers to Notre Dame’s administration on those matters, but also acknowledged the importance of Notre Dame’s independence to its identity.
“Programs are talking about what Notre Dame is going to do and we love that,” Freeman said on Get Up. “We love being independent. Our program really was built on being independent. And I think as long as we can continue to do that, we will. But I know [Notre Dame’s administration] will never put our program in a position to fail. So if we have to join a conference I’m sure we will.”
Notre Dame’s future continues to draw speculation as the Fighting Irish are presumably being courted by the ACC, Big Ten and maybe even the SEC.
It’s worth noting that Notre Dame is bound to the ACC’s grant of rights in non-football sports until 2036. Additionally, the Fighting Irish reportedly can not join another conference other than the ACC until that deal expires.
However, it’s unclear how financially punitive the penalty would be for Notre Dame if it decided to break its deal with the ACC.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told reporters earlier this month that the Fighting Irish don’t feel the “urgency” to join a conference.
The Irish are in negotiations to extend its TV deal with NBC, which currently expires in 2025. Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million in annual distributions — an amount which could allow it to remain independent.