Big East solicited Notre Dame as a member without football?
Did I say that? ;)
Probably in much the way an official invitation is "offered" by a conference to an incoming school or a bowl bid to a school; the offer isn't made public until the answer is already known... and the answer is positive.
Of course, the preference was for Notre Dame with
football, but I doubt that there was even much discussion about that. Reports at thae time were that ND had already approached the ACC to see if there was interest in ND without football & had been turned down. The bottom line is that even when ND made it clear what the restrictions were, the Big East still invited
them, indicating their desire to add ND sans football. Not saying that it was their first choice, but under those conditions, they still felt the good outweighed the bad.
History indicates several reasons to give Notre Dame these perks. I'm fairly convinced that the future is different. Of course, I'm also convinced Notre Dame will hold out until well past the "sell by" date due to pride. That happens well after the split is supposed to happen, mind you.
The biggest problem for the football schools after a split is that collectively they have a very limited market. Rutgers is the only football member with a major market. Upstate New York is still a significant market, but as a private school, Syracuse doesn't bring the viewership that a state flagship would bring in a similar market of 6 million. The rest of the schools are either small markets or play in someone else's shadow or both. when they sell this package for a TV contract, they have potential problems.
I still hold to the thought that two conferences would have had 10 invitees to the tournament last year, while the one conference ended up with 8. I still hold that the Big East is too large and unwieldly.
I agree. I think that a split makes the most sense for the long haul but they have issues that need to be addressed.