While the Big Ten’s conference expansion efforts appear to have slowed down considerably after the addition of USC and UCLA in June, it appears that the conference is still in hot pursuit of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Last month, reports surfaced that the Big Ten was waiting for an answer from Notre Dame about joining the conference before it moved forward with expanding to any other schools. However, now it appears the conference is taking it a step further – the Big Ten is no longer immediately interested in any other team but the Fighting Irish.
According to a new report from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the Big Ten is no longer actively pursuing any Pac-12 teams like California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington, but Notre Dame has an “open invitation” to join the conference.
Dodd reports that the Big Ten will is not interested in paying the same $80-$100 million amount for additional Pac-12 schools as the current 16 Big Ten schools going forward, but would gladly accept the Fighting Irish into the conference. However, Dodd reports that there may also be a legal reason the Big Ten is not pursuing additional Pac-12 teams.
Despite the Big Ten’s clear interest in adding Notre Dame, Dodd reports that most stakeholders believe the Fighting Irish will not join the conference and will remain independent – at least for now.