Notre Dame Football

BK Talks Spring Possibility, Notre Dame Schedule, Playoff Expansion & More

July 15, 2020

Brian Kelly was on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday morning with Mike Greenberg.

Greenberg asked the Notre Dame head coach about comments Irish Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick made regarding how the upcoming start of pro sports like the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball could impact college football.

Swabrick told ESPN, “If, for example, those efforts go poorly, it's probably going to be a really critical data point for us, and we'll argue for delay. If that occurs, I think you've gotta be open to the spring."

Kelly told Greenberg, “Everything is on the table at this point.”

“I won’t get into the specifics because I don’t know that anybody really has a great idea of what it looks like,” he added.

“I think what Jack is saying in particular is that the models of the professional teams will give us a better understanding of are we going to delay this and try to play it in the fall or do we certainly have to just scrap it and then begin putting together something for the spring? We’re going to play football this year, it just depends on when we’re going to play football.”

If the season is delayed to the spring, players on the verge of entering the NFL Draft could decide to skip their final seasons of college ball. Kelly said those conversations have already started with players and their families.

“If this season gets pushed off and is certainly in the spring, then it’s in the hands of what the NFL is going to do with its Draft,” he said. “I would say this, if the players that are draft-eligible have an opportunity to go to the NFL and they are certainly draftable players then they have to look at their future and that means looking at the Draft. If they’re not, then they come back and train and get ready to play the season if it’s in fact in the spring.”

As for Notre Dame’s upcoming schedule, Kelly remains confident despite having games with Wisconsin, Stanford and USC cancelled when the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced they would only play conference games this fall.

Kelly noted Notre Dame’s relationship with the ACC and the six games the Irish have slated within that league with the possibility of adding more.

“Certainly, Jack Swarbrick has been in contact with Commissioner (John) Swofford about adding games to our schedule,” said Kelly. “Those are ongoing negotiations…There’s a large inventory of teams out there – our phone is ringing off the hook right now in terms of teams looking for games.

“That’s probably the least of our concerns right now. I think there are plenty of games for us to play. We’d just like to play some.”

Kelly said he’d be in favor of considering an adjustment to the College Football Playoff this season.

“I think if we’re going do it, this is the year to do it to create an excitement around this game,” he said. “We need this for a lot of reasons; the psyche of our sports, our student-athletes, our country. If we can create more excitement around it, I don’t think you’ll have a negative vote about it.

“This is a great window for us to expand and be creative. If we can do it, I certainly don’t think you’ll have anybody against something like that.”

Kelly acknowledged he’s a proponent of expanding the Playoff in general.

“There are the Power 5 conferences, so there’s five and then we’re Independent, so six or more would be great for me,” he laughed.

Kelly again talked about the need to have open dialogue within the program given what’s occurred in this country over the last several months.

“It’s a lot like the social unrest we have, whether it be Black Lives Matter or the social uncertainties we have, college football. We’re making sure there is a great line of communication open. We’re allowing our players to speak. We’re having weekly Zoom meetings with them so they can get their concerns out if they have them, in all forms. Our kids are so in tuned with what’s happening today that it’s so important that they get a platform whether it’s on social media or with us.”

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