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Staying as Football Independent Is 'Priority' for Notre Dame

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jackswarbrick.jpg USA Today - It has been speculated that the Big 12 would look to Notre Dame as its replacement for Texas A&M should the Aggies, as expected, leave the conference.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick wants the school to stay as an independent in football.

But even though Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick is friends with Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, that doesn't mean his school ready to give up football independence.

"Our priority - and our clear priority - is maintaining our football independence and continuing to build our relationship with the Big East with our other sports," Swarbrick told the Austin American-Statesman.

Notre Dame and Texas are have a four-game series scheduled to start in 2015 and include dates in 2016, 2019 and 2020. It will be the first time the schools have met since 1996. But don't expect to see them playing as conference opponents any time soon.

"I don't know if it would ever be an annual game, but we do want to play more games with Texas and play them in more sports," Swarbrick said. "Both schools are committed to athletic programs that have excellence."

When the Big Ten announced its plans to explore expansion in December of 2009, Notre Dame was an obvious candidate. Swarbrick says that experience led him to put little weight into what was being reported by the media.

"One thing I can tell you from what I know last year," Swarbrick said, "almost none of the speculation was accurate."

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