Nobody questions the role that football has at Notre Dame. Football was what allowed the South Bend, Indiana school to grow from a growing Catholic university to a national, iconic institution.
But what allowed Notre Dame to become Notre Dame was a path that isn't available to religious institutions today.
Much virtual ink has been spilled about the effects of collegiate realignment, how some conferences have been torn asunder, how some schools are stuck in places that don't make sense, how other conferences are receiving piles of money that would make Scrooge McDuck envious.
But one of the biggest losers in this conference-driven realignment is the idea of independent football-playing schools, either loosely-tied or untied from the conference structure that drives the bus today.
When realignment articles come out today, floating schools like BYU or Liberty as potential conference-mates for schools like Texas or Old Dominion, they ignore the issue that they dare not speak publicly - mixing religion and football is not something they're comfortable doing.
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