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UCLA’s Chip Kelly suggests Notre Dame model for all of college football

UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly suggested Notre Dame's model for the rest of college football. The Fighting Irish football team is independent while other sports compete in the ACC.

College football has experienced massive change over the past several years, with the first week of August proving seismic change to the landscape of the sport. 

Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Oregon and Washington will all depart the Pac-12 Conference following the 2023-24 seasons, joining UCLA, USC and Colorado in seeking greener pastures. 

The moves leave the conference with just four teams starting in 2024. 


While college football is the driver of all conference realignment, with it being the main source of revenue for athletic programs, all sports will be impacted by the moves.

For UCLA, the switch to the Big Ten will mean longer travel days as all sports programs will now need to travel to the Midwest and the East Coast for road games. 

On Tuesday, UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly provided an idea with the other programs in mind. 

"Notre Dame is an independent in football, but they’re in a conference for everything else," Kelly said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Why aren’t we all independent for football? Take the 64 teams in Power Five and make that one division, take the 64 teams in Group of Five, make that another division. We play for a championship, they play for a championship and no one else gets affected.


"Our sport’s different than everybody else – we only play once a week, travel’s not a big deal for football, but it is a big deal for other sports. So that’s my theory."

The majority of the athletic programs at Notre Dame compete in the ACC, with the football program remaining independent and the hockey team playing in the Big Ten. 

Kelly is not the first head coach to bring up the issues with travel for athletic programs outside of football. 

Missouri head football coach Eli Drinkwitz raised concerns for the student-athletes outside of football in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

"Look, my question is, did we count the cost? I’m not talking about a financial cost. I’m talking about did we count the cost for the student-athletes involved in this decision? What cost is it to those student-athletes?" he told the outlet.

"We’re talking about a football decision – they based it off football – but what about softball and baseball [teams] who have to travel cross-country? Do we ask about the cost of them? Do we know what the No. 1 indicator or symptom or cause of mental health is? It’s lack of rest and sleep."

"Traveling in those baseball/softball games, those people, they travel commercial, and they get done playing at 4 [p.m.] They got to go to the airport, they come back, it’s 3 or 4 in the morning. They got to go to class. I mean, did we ask any of them? Are we going to look back… ?"

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report

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