Purdue-Notre Dame rivalry in jeopardy

Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke, speaking in Chicago on Tuesday, admitted he is working feverishly with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to preserve the two schools' longstanding rivalry.

CHICAGO -- The rivalry between Purdue and Notre Dame dates back to 1946. Ever since Red Mackey reached out to Notre Dame athletic director Moose Krause, the two schools have met 84 times.

There is rich history between Purdue and Notre Dame. That is something both school's athletic directors, Purdue's Morgan Burke and Notre Dame's Jack Swarbrick, are considering while they try to preserve the series amidst scheduling uncertainties.

"He and I are the landlords of a 68-year tradition," said Burke while speaking at Big Ten meetings.

"We're mindful of that. But we've also got to find a way to put a square peg in a round hole. Believe me, we're looking at all options. It's not how can hit a stalemate, it's how can we find a solution."

The Big Ten's shift to a nine-game schedule cuts out a nonconference game. Meanwhile, Notre Dame will play five ACC teams per season as part of its new deal with the conference. The complications grow in attempting to alternate the series between West Lafayette in South Bend while balancing an ample number of home games on the schedule.

It appears the Big Ten's immediate future is set, with Maryland and Rutgers joining the conference and a nine-game schedule in place, so Burke has a structure for scheduling. However, the ACC continues to explore its options, which leaves Notre Dame in flux for building its football slate. Keeping the rivalry alive is will be problematical.

"Until the dust settles, you can't get there," said Burke. "It just frustrates scheduling; it's probably the hardest part of the job right now."

Purdue and Notre Dame first met in 1896, a 28-22 win in South Bend. The two rivals have played each season since 1946 with the Boilermakers becoming the first Big Ten team to regularly appear on Notre Dame's schedule. In 1957, the Shillelagh Trophy was brought from Ireland to be awarded to the game's winner.

This season, the Boilermakers and Fighting Irish will meet in primetime at Ross-Ade Stadium. It will be a showcase game for new head coach Darrell Hazell in facing a Notre Dame team which reached the National Championship last season. This may be the last game of the series if scheduling snags aren't worked out.

It's up to Morgan Burke and Jack Swarbrick to keep their school's rich rivalry active. The two athletic directors are close friends and working toward a resolution, but it will take more than just a handshake to do so.

"There is absolutely a tremendous relationship and respect between the two institutions," said Burke. "All that being said, if you've got a square peg and a round hole, you've got to adjust. There's no predisposition. If we can try to make something work, we will."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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