The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 8, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: Notre Dame’s Brey opens up about Big Ten

MORGANTOWN — It came out of the blue really, a revelation that gives you an idea of just how fragile this conference that is the Big East really is.

The wheels were spinning on what seemed to be just another coach’s conference call, the kind where they give you a lot of words and say nothing before an upcoming game. You use them to grab off a quote or two or an idea, but not really to get anything that’s newsworthy.

The question came out of news that was a month or more old, talk about the Big Ten talking about expanding, which naturally led to talk about Notre Dame jumping there, talk that was quickly put down by Notre Dame.

Mike Brey, whose Notre Dame basketball team plays West Virginia on Saturday in South Bend, was asked if he ever thought about what it would be like if Notre Dame had jumped to the Big Ten.

Yawn! Like what was he going to say?

“Oh, yeah, all the time. The Big Ten’s always on my mind.”

No, you figure here comes the old brush off and let’s move on to a question about Luke Harangody.

But Brey had a shocker up his sleeve.

“Four or five years ago my athletic director called me in for a meeting and told me to be prepared. We’re going to the Big Ten,” Brey said, so matter-of-factly that you figured everyone knew about it.

But that really wasn’t the case. No one knew that Notre Dame stood on the doorstep of jumping to the Big Ten a few years back. They knew they had the chance to go, that the Big Ten wanted them, but that were close enough that the Irish athletic director was calling coaches in and telling them to prepare for the move, that it was a sure thing … well, can you say Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College.

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Bob Herzel
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