Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick Wants Delayed Start, Shorter Football Season

The rollercoaster off-season of uncertainty continues as universities and conferences around the country are still scrambling to understand what might be possible in terms of college football this fall. On Tuesday, we learned from Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick that he would prefer not only a delayed start to the season but also a reduced schedule to allow for maximum flexibility.

Swarbrick revealed his position in an interview with ESPN on Tuesday.

“I don’t anticipate a 12-game schedule,” Swarbrick told ESPN on Tuesday. “I’d like to start a little later. The value of starting later is you really get to see how your university has done. You have the benefit of all of that information and knowledge, and so I’d like to start a little later. The number for me is probably somewhere between 8 and 10 [games], but whatever is right for the health and safety of the players.”

Jack Swarbrick interview with ESPN on 7/21/20

Swarbrick’s position on a delayed start and shortened season shouldn’t surprise anyone. We already know that the Big 10 and Pac 12 are moving towards a 10-game schedule with their move to conference-only schedules for the fall.

As for a delayed start, with all of the uncertainty around the country right now, does anyone really think any program is going to be playing college football in six weeks? There’s almost no chance of that right now.

So far, Notre Dame has lost three games on its 2020 schedule – Wisconsin, USC, and Stanford – so there are only nine games on its schedule currently, but Swarbrick doesn’t think they’ll have any problem filling out a schedule. Brian Kelly made similar comments last week when he said that their phone has been ringing off the hook with other programs looking for games this fall.

On Friday, there was a very short-lived rumor that one game that could have been added for Notre Dame this fall was a season-opener against Alabama. Those wild and fun rumors were promptly shot down on Saturday by Alabama.

There should be at least some sort of decisions made next week by the power brokers of college football. The ACC and Big 12 have said publicly that they would make some decisions by the end of July with regards to what they will do with their schedules and when they might start the season. Swarbrick told ESPN that he expects decisions to be made by the end of the month though schedules might not be fully fleshed out by then.

Assuming there is a ten-game schedule for everyone around the country, a weekend of September 26 start could allow for everyone to have their regular seasons completed by Thanksgiving weekend. That would keep the conference championship weekend in December and eliminate all bye weeks. Eliminating bye weeks isn’t exactly ideal since teams might need to them if players are in quarantine, but nothing about trying to play football this fall is ideal.

So far, one thing Swarbrick hasn’t hinted at is a canceled season. With all of the money at stake, not just for Notre Dame, but every major program, expect every effort to be made to squeeze in some sort of season. Whether or not it will ultimately be possible, we won’t know for a little while yet. Still, it is apparent that Swarbrick, conference commissioners, and other athletic directors will exhaust all options before they consider canceling the season.

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