Ted DiBiase gained professional wrestling fame by playing the villainous character "The Million Dollar Man." Through a series of vignettes, he always got his point across:
"Everybody has a price for the Million Dollar Man."
Truer words were never spoken. Yes, everybody has a price, even Notre Dame.
Fighting Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick acknowledged Tuesday that the school is considering giving up its football independence and joining a league, likely the Big Ten. The reason, of course, is money.
Notre Dame, with its NBC contract that runs through 2015, is falling behind in the race for TV dollars, even against in-state teams Purdue and Indiana.
John Walters of FanHouse writes: "Currently, Big Ten schools receive $22 million annually in television money, according to a recent report on ESPN's 'Outside the Lines.' Notre Dame, through its contract with NBC, receives about $15 million. That's correct: Indiana and Purdue both earn nearly 50% more in television money than fellow in-state program Notre Dame, even though the Irish dwarf both schools in terms of national interest."
Swarbrick said: "You each could invent a scenario that would force our hand. It's not hard to do."
The Big Ten and Notre Dame nearly hooked up in 2003, with the Irish backing out at the last minute. Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune writes: "The Irish would have to do the romancing. Or at least set up the first date."
The bottom line is that Notre Dame can no longer go it alone, and the Big Ten offers a financial lifeline. Putting past feelings aside, it's a win-win for both, and that's how deals get done.