There is a big difference between what Notre Dame WILL do and what Notre Dame SHOULD do when it comes to joining a conference that would include its football program.
Forces within ND want to keep the tradition and the special image independence gives the school, along with the ability to get the type of contract the school has with NBC. ND thrived on an aura of being different, apart from the rest through much of the 20th century.....the independent status, the coast-to-coast schedule, the appeal to ethnic Catholics.
Unfortunately for the Irish, the national landscape has changed. Independent status puts in question the ability to compete in the BCS (where ND is not calling the shots) and ND's connection to ethnic Catholics has little relevance in today's world.
So, will ND join a conference and include its football program? Probably not.
More importantly, should it? IMHO, that would be an unquestionable YES
Football conferences are in a time of transiton with realignment. That's why a board like this exists. They will, at some point, stablize and with that, no doubt, a change in the BCS championship formula, one based on conference membership. ND does not control the BCS; who is to say it won't be shut out or severely compromised by its independent status? I believe there are a number of schools out there that would love to screw ND on this issue.
ND's future would best be served with conference membership (IMHO, the Big Ten) but for present-thinking ND, I don't see it happening. ND's options get fewer and fewer as we speak and if they don't act soon, others will be making decisions for them that could prove to be very, very harmful.
What's an ethnic Catholic? ;)
If your last point were only true! ;D
How ironic would it be for others to make decisions for Notre Dame!
It is conceivable that the both the Big 10 and the ACC are now going to be sitting at 11 schools with hope against hope that they can be the ones to get ND to sign their dance card for #12.
Personally I would love to see ND get shut out, lose all their sweet "personal gain" deals, and have to play by the same rules everybody else does. I hope you are right, and others dictate their final outcome.
That would be justice. ;)
And NO, I'm not an "ethnic Catholic" but some of my best friends probably are... 8-)