LAST EDITED ON 09-22-11 AT 08:16 PM (EST)
I have to disagree. There are only two universities in the US with conference membership and their own football packages: Notre Dame, which has a special deal with the Big East, and Texas, which has a special deal with the Big 12. No other major conference except for those two cripples would permit these sweetheart deals to continue, because all other major conferences (Big 10, SEC, ACC, Pac-12) require 100% revenue sharing.
At the same time, the Big Ten is actually an academic union named the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which consists of the 12 Big Ten schools plus the University of Chicago. In fact, one of the conditions for Nebraska's admission to the Big Ten was that it needed to upgrade its academic program to CIC standards. But the Big Ten also wants to maintain its fan base, which includes am average of 1.5 million followers per school. Nebraska made it in because its fan base was significantly larger than the current average, despite its academic deficiencies.
The Big Ten/CIC has agita over the fact that the ACC and the Pac-12 are seen as at least its academic equals, and perhaps betters.
Notre Dame is a top-25 academic program and has a fan base of over 2.3 million. By contrast, Missouri (which has already engaged in many of the academic reforms that Nebraska still has to make) has a fan base of only 1.1 million, and all other potential Big Ten members (Kansas, Rutgers, UConn) are under 1 million.
As a result, Notre Dame will never be off the table for the Big Ten. And Notre Dame knows that its most lucrative pairing, if it has to join a revenue-sharing conference, is with the Big Ten, so the Big Ten will never be off the table for ND.