Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick predicts Division I split as 'inevitable'
The landscape of college athletics continues to shift in ways never before seen. Considering the battles for new media rights, the introduction of NIL legislation, and the explosion of the transfer portal, it is hard to imagine what college athletics could look like in just a few short years.
During a recent interview with Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick discussed everything going on amidst the chaos of college athletics. In particular, Swarbrick sees two competing ideas for how college sports are likely to be run in the future: schools that still operate athletics within a traditional educational structure, and those who tie sports to the university in name only.
Swarbrick went so far as to predict a Division I split along these two lines as “inevitable.” He even predicted a timeline as the mid-2030s for when a split is likely to occur with the expiration of existing media rights deals.
“Absent a national standard, which I don’t see coming, I think it’s inevitable,” Swarbrick said. “Mid-30s would be the logical time.”
Another factor contributing to his prediction is the fact that the SEC and Big Ten continue to far outpace the other major conferences in terms of revenue.
“We’re going to have these two conferences that have so distanced themselves from anyone else financially,” Swarbrick said. “That’s where I see it starting to break down. There are so many schools trying to get out of their current conference, and they can’t get there.”