If anyone had an idea that Notre Dame was set to move to the ACC, it should have been Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk. Navy has a 98-year football series with Notre Dame and in 2015 the Midshipmen will join the Big East, the league Notre Dame is fleeing.
Leading up to their game on Sept. 1, Gladchuk spent time in Dublin, Ireland with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and other Fighting Irish officials.
“They didn’t say anything to me about it,” Gladchuk. “It really doesn’t make that much difference to us. I don’t think it’s going to affect our series at all. We’re gonna continue with our relationship over the contract through 2026. We’re only involved in the Big East in football, so it wouldn’t affect us in any of our other sports.”
But doesn’t a weakened Big East hurt Navy?
“Big East questions are irrelevant as far as I’m concerned,” Gladchuk said. “Our commitment to the Big East had nothing to do with Notre Dame. Now that Notre Dame has decided to join the ACC, in whatever the capacity, it’s just as irrelevant as well. The only thing that would be relevant, is if it compromised our relationship. Just coming back from Ireland, with the wonderful experience we had, sensing the appreciation both sides had for each other, I wouldn’t see that coming.”
Navy and Notre Dame are in much different places athletically. In South Bend, sports are big business. In seeking conferences to join, however, both schools were motivated by the same force – bowl alliances.