Notre Dame now enjoys regular battles with USC, Stanford, Michigan, Michigan State and schools from the Big East. Future deals are in place for annual games against Texas and Miami. Still, maintaining a quality schedule is not a given.
"It's a continual challenge to get it all to work and make the puzzle pieces all fit. We actually try to meet every week just to keep up with it," Heisler said.
Notre Dame's tradition, which schools like Penn State and Miami found out, is not enough to maintain scheduling for the university's other programs — which require the scheduling of many more contests. That's why Notre Dame reached a deal in 1995 with the Big East, similar to what BYU is considering with the WAC, to have a conference affiliation for its other 23 sports.
"That has been somewhat of a unique position, but it's been a very good combination for us. It's really been good for us in basketball," Heisler said.
Football programs that are currently Division I-A (FBS) Independents
Football programs which were once Division I-A (FBS) Independents
School . . . . . . . . . .Conference joined and year
Air Force WAC 1980; Mountain West 1999
Akron Mid-American 1992
Alabama-Birmingham Conference USA 1999
Arkansas State Big West 1993; Sun Belt 2001
Boston College Big East 1991; ACC 2005
Cal-State Fullerton Dropped football 1992
Long Beach State Dropped football 1991
Central Florida Mid-American 2002; Conference USA 2005
Cincinnati Conference USA 1996; Big East 2005
Colgate Patriot League 1986
Connecticut Big East 2004
East Carolina Conference USA 1997
Florida State ACC 1992
Georgia Tech ACC 1979
Hawaii WAC 1979
Holy Cross Patriot League 1986
Illinois State Missouri Valley 1985
Indiana State Missouri Valley 1986
Louisiana Tech Big West 1993; WAC 2001
Louisiana-Lafayette Big West 1991; Sun Belt 2001
Louisiana-Monroe Southland 1996; Sun Belt 2001
Louisville Conference USA 1996; Big East 2005
Memphis Conference USA 1996
Miami Big East 1991; ACC 2004
Middle Tennessee Sun Belt 2001
UNLV Big West 1982; Mountain West 1999
North Texas Southland 1983; Big West 1996; Sun Belt 2001
Northern Illinois Big West 1993; Mid-American 1997
Penn State Big 10 1993
Pittsburgh Big East 1991
Richmond Colonial 1984
Rutgers Big East 1991
South Carolina SEC 1992
South Florida Conference USA 2003; Big East 2005
Southern Mississippi Conference USA 1996
Syracuse Big East 1991
Temple Big East 1991; Mid-American 2007
Tennessee State Ohio Valley 1988
Troy Sun Belt 2004
Tulane Conference USA 1996
Tulsa Western Athletic 1996; Conference USA 2005
Utah State Big West 1978-2001; Sun Belt 2003; WAC 2005
Villanova Colonial 1985
Virginia Tech Big East 1991; ACC 2004
West Virginia Big East 1991
Wichita State Dropped football 1986
William & Mary 1993 Colonial
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