In case you were wondering, famous college football head coach NoPa... I mean JoePa is not an ND fan. Don't believe me? Check out these qutoes.
From a recent AP article about who JoePa would like to see join the Big Ten:
"There's some pressure, I would suppose, to maybe go back to Notre Dame and ask again, which I would not be happy with," Paterno said. "I think they've had their chance."The quote below is taken from a pre-game press conference between the Irish and Nittany Lions:
"You’re going to hear all about Notre Dame tradition, and you know what? It doesn’t mean a thing unless Knute Rockne leaps out of the ground and tackles you. Their field has got a hundred yards and two goal posts just like every other football field. When you put those black shoes on tomorrow, and you put on that jersey without your name on the back, and you put that plain helmet on, that’s tradition, Penn State’s tradition.”800+ wins or not, love him or hate him, JoePa doesn't know what he's talking about. Not that that should come as a surprise to anyone.
If you don't recall, Notre Dame actually declined an opportunity to join the Big Ten nearly a decade ago.
Going back further than that, even before Notre Dame won its first National Title in 1924, the Irish were effectively forced to play non-intersectional matches due to the demands of the Michigan Wolverines and their highly regard Head Coach, Fielding Yost.
At that time in history Michigan was a member of the Western (now Big Ten) Conference and was THE powerhouse in football. ND's first recorded game in 1887 was a 8-0 loss to the Wolverines, which occurred after UM taught the Irish how to play football. Needless to say the advantage was all Michigan's and they owned the series until 1909...
But even after Coach Frank “Shorty” Longman and the Irish began 1909 with four wins, they were underdogs heading off to Ann Arbor’s Ferry Field. There, led by the heroics of halfback Harry “Red” Miller – the first of five football-playing brothers from Defiance, Ohio to play for Notre Dame – and fullback Robert E. “Pete” Vaughan, Longman’s squad held the favored Wolverines in check and walked off with an 11-3 triumph.Yost was not too pleased with the outcome of that game and took action against the Irish...
Michigan Coach Fielding Yost did not take the defeat lightly. He had already been in a dispute with the Western Conference, which kept Michigan on the Conference sidelines from 1907-16. Yost abruptly canceled the 1910 meeting with Notre Dame, and by alleging various improprieties, influenced Conference teams not to schedule ND for another seven seasons. The Irish would not meet another Conference team until a 0-0 tie with Wisconsin in 1917, under Jesse Harper.
Go to this fascinating site (where these quotes were pulled from) to find out more. In summation, though, it should be pretty clear by now that ND has every to decline any invitation from the Big Ten and has proven that success can come without having any conference affiliation.