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Dr. Saturday

Arizona State AD lashes out at Notre Dame because of a possible cancellation of a 2014 game

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson isn’t happy about Notre Dame’s desire to drop the Sun Devils from the 2014 football schedule and he’s made sure to let everyone know it.

Patterson pulled no punches on Phoenix radio station XTRA Sports 910 AM on Wednesday saying that he didn’t like the way Notre Dame was handling the situation.

"The school didn't have the courtesy to have the athletic director (Jack Swarbrick) call the athletic director at ASU to discuss it," Patterson said. "They had their PR guy call (ASU's media relations office) to give us a message Friday afternoon while everybody was out of town at the Final Four.

"At least in the little Catholic town I grew up in (Beaver Dam, Wisconsin) the good nuns wouldn’t have thought that was a very appropriate way to honor your word." site cited multiple sources saying Florida State would host Notre Dame in 2014, which was the first tip that the Arizona State game might be in jeopardy.

[Also: Sue Paterno opens up about Penn State's Jerry Sandusky scandal]

Notre Dame’s reluctance to play the game likely stems from its new contract with the ACC and the provisions that go with it. Even though Notre Dame is a member of the conference in every sport except football, it’s still required to play five football games against ACC schools as part of the agreement. The only ACC schools on Notre Dame’s 2014 schedule are Pittsburgh and Syracuse and the Irish only have one open date remaining. That means, Arizona State probably won’t be the only school whose contract is rescinded.

"It looks like we're kind of in the home stretch here," Notre Dame senior associate athletic director for media and broadcast relations John Heisler told the South Bend Tribune. "But the reality is we have more games than we could play."

It’s important to note that the game has not yet officially been cancelled. It’s still scheduled for Oct. 24, 2014, but Patterson sees the writing on the wall and knows the Sun Devils will have to scramble to find an opponent willing to play a nonconference game in the middle of the conference season. The contract, which was set in 2008, also has the Sun Devils making a return trip to South Bend in 2017.

Arizona State also will play Notre Dame this season (Oct. 5) at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas as part of Notre Dame "Shamrock Series."

"What people don't understand is you do this 18 months before a game," Patterson said. "Virtually every other university in the country's got their teams scheduled until 2014. So who do you get as a replacement even if you wanted to do it?

"If you act in a professional way and you want to talk about three years down the line or four years down the line where somebody's got a chance to make an adjustment in their schedule, that's a different thing, but when it's 18 months out, everybody's got their season booked."

Added Patterson: "Our position is 'Hey, we've got a contract,' and we expect Notre Dame to live up to it."

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