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REACTS: Unions, Conference Schedules, and the Irish

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NCAA Football: Notre Dame-Practice South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

As we inch towards the theoretical start of the college football season, there’s been a plethora of college football storylines to track. First off, and perhaps the biggest story of the offseason, has been a group of Pac 12 athletes attempting to unionize, releasing a list of demands that they want met in order to play football this season.

While I don’t claim to be an expert in understanding all the intricacies of the NIL debate, the #WeAreUnited movement, etc., I do think what the players in the Pac-12 are doing is commendable. While some of their demands are unlikely to be met, that’s how negotiations work. You’re never going to get all of what you start off asking for, so ask for the moon and you’re more likely to be happy with where you settle.

The NCAA was viewed much more favorably in the public eye as recently as a decade ago, and had they taken the initiative to allow players to recieve even a small fraction of the money they helped generate, we may not be where we are today. Or, maybe just allow them to profit off their likeness, instead of stonewalling and slowplaying every effort to do so.

Next, fans were asked if the conference-only model should be explored more thoroughly in a non-pandemic future.

It would be a shame if conference-only (or even conference+1) schedules were a serious consideration for the future of college football. Games against G5’s and FCS teams are part of the lifeblood of the sport, a “circle of life”-esque ecosystem that everyone benefits from. It helps the programs at the top of the food chain bolster their records and provide some feel good moments in the otherwise grueling week-to-week grind. It allows teams to provide game experience to their whole depth chart in the likely event of a blowout. It acts as the smallest form of revenue-sharing with smaller programs, to at least help them meet a yearly budget that an SEC school profits in a month. It helps keep the sport interconnected in a way that is absolutely necessary for accurate ranking systems, if you’re into that sort of thing. And lastly, the “buy-game” model creates opportunities for fans of all economic standings to be able to enjoy a game in person.

Don’t kill buy games, folks. Or else the pride land rolling plains of Dixie will turn into a Scar-led wasteland.

Lastly, Notre Dame has effectively joined the ACC, if only in full for this year. The ACC announced their full schedule last week, with Notre Dame getting a full 10 game conference slate. Fans across the country have mixed feelings about the future for the Irish, though.

It makes sense to me why the large majority of ACC fans want to bring Notre Dame in permanently. Adding another blue-blood program to the mix will only help to bolster the conference with the largest middle class of football programs in the country. Plus, in the event of the Great Realignment of 2025 scenario where the Big 12 implodes, being at 15 teams makes the ACC a prime target to grab another school - perhaps West Virginia?

Meanwhile, I think the reason we see so many Big 10 fans wanting the ACC to be the Irish’s forever home is so that Notre Dame fans will finally shut up about being an independent. I’ve got to imagine after the 500th time, that talking point gets annoying. Clearly, though, Notre Dame fans aren’t bored of it.

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